Improving refugee and immigrant lives, a tidbit at a time.
Heartfelt Tidbits provides support to refugees and recent immigrants living in Southwestern Ohio by facilitating integration and self-sufficiency through our innovative education, cultural and employment-enhancing programming.
Transitioning to American life is multifaceted and not easily achieved for refugees and recent immigrants.
That's why Heartfelt Tidbits provides the ‘long welcome’ to clients who have arrived in the Cincinnati area. With the support of over 110 passionate volunteers and in partnership with over 75 community organizations, Heartfelt Tidbits enhances refugee and recent immigrant integration through a variety of innovative programs.
These programs include English and citizenship classes, connecting clients to neighborhood resources, facilitating art and sewing programs, creating community gardening projects, and promoting youth empowerment.
Much of our work focuses on women who are particularly vulnerable due to limited language skills and isolation. Our sewing and art programs focus on economic self-sufficiency and the building of community among refugee and immigrant women.
All of our programs are grounded in our firm belief in the importance of alleviating refugee and immigrant isolation, which takes a toll on both physical and mental health.
Everything we do captures our ethos of providing close and sustained support for the refugee and immigrant population, that continues past the conclusion of the 90-day initial refugee resettlement period.
Our unique logo represents our commitment to building a community that cherishes diverse cultures. The vibrant colors signify the coming together of people from all walks of life.
The two hands in the logo come together to symbolize the connection that occurs when people open up to each other, creating a heart. This heart exemplifies our approach of showing love and compassion to all refugees and immigrants who seek our support.
Each small tidbit plays an important part in creating the whole, just as our volunteers come together to make Heartfelt Tidbits happen. Each volunteer donates their tidbit of time, large or small, and together we change lives every day. If you’re interested in volunteering, check out our volunteer resources and find your perfect tidbit.
Our programming falls under seven categories. Click to learn more about each program.
Southwest Ohio is home to over 40,000 refugees who have resettled in the United States since the 1980s. After refugees arrive in the United States, they are supported by a local representative of one of the nine official refugee resettlement agencies. These provide government-mandated services such as housing and school registration for a period of up to 90 days. These services are designed to support refugee independence by helping them face the inevitable educational, cultural and economic challenges. However, in many cases the transition to America life can take much longer than 90 days, and often takes many years.
In 2008, one concerned Cincinnati resident, Sheryl Rajbhandari, saw the need for refugees to have a ‘longer welcome’ to Cincinnati. Impacted by the arrival of a Bhutanese refugee family needing extensive aid, Rajbhandari started Heartfelt Tidbits in order to address the gaps left by the short-term aid of refugee resettlement agencies. Seeing over 150 refugees arrive in Cincinnati in 2008, and almost double that amount arrive in 2009, Rajbhandari left her corporate career in 2013 to pursue the expansion of Heartfelt Tidbits to provide for the Cincinnati refugee and immigrant population.
Heartfelt Tidbits started as an operation helping refugees a ‘tidbit’ at a time. We aided refugees in the crucial period following their arrival to the United States. These services initially included teaching day-to-day life skills and facilitating access to medical attention and education. Following the influx of refugees in 2009, Heartfelt Tidbits implemented more programs in order to sustain and meet the needs of refugees, most notably the coordination of various English language acquisition programs. In 2010, Heartfelt Tidbits became a 501(c)3 non-profit to allow for tax-deductible donations and in order to act as a job center for refugees who need to further their language development and cultivate production skills.
As a result of the success of Heartfelt Tidbits and our continuous community support, our boutique storefront and makerspace opened in Camp Washington in 2017. They are located at The Welcome Project, a social enterprise in partnership with Wave Pool Gallery which provides financial, employment and social support to new Americans.