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Embracing Kindness: My Missoula Journey

Written by Matilda Kabutey-Ongor

Intern, TAPMissoula

Missoula, MT (July 31st, 2023) - In my journey to Missoula, I discovered a community of kind-hearted individuals who welcomed me as family. The University of Montana provided more than an education; it became my sanctuary and introduced me to supportive friends. As winter approached, they generously gifted me my first winter coat and shoes, shielding me from the cold and showing their care. Eager to give back, I joined Soft Landing Missoula's United-We-Eat program, teaching Ghanaian cooking lessons. Through this, I not only shared my culture but also formed deep connections, realizing that bonds transcend borders. Volunteering for Soft Landing Missoula's World Refugee Day program was equally rewarding, witnessing the community's dedication to celebrating resilience.


" Eager to give back, I joined Soft Landing Missoula's United-We-Eat program, teaching Ghanaian cooking lessons."


During uncertain times, the Missoula Food Bank offered essential support. Their kind-hearted staff ensured I had nutritious meals and provided guidance for a healthy lifestyle. Their care reinforced the notion that kindness knows no bounds.


These collective experiences have made me see Missoula as family.

These collective experiences have made me see Missoula as family. Their unwavering kindness has transformed my journey. In Missoula, strangers become friends and friends become family. I am forever grateful to these remarkable individuals who made Missoula my true home—a place where hearts align, dreams thrive, and genuine connections flourish.


In life's journey, the kindness of strangers illuminates our path.

In life's journey, the kindness of strangers illuminates our path, reminding us we are never alone. Missoula has shown me the power of compassion, and I carry the love and warmth of this community in my heart.


About Your Neighbor:


Matilda Kabutey-Ongor, originally from Accra, Ghana, now resides in Missoula, Montana, showcasing her unwavering dedication and drive. She has gained valuable experience as an intern for TAPMissoula and also as a research assistant for a forestry project in Uganda. After graduating in 2018 from the University of Ghana with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with Geography, Matilda's academic achievements are impressive. Recently completing her first master's degree in economics at the University of Ghana in 2021, she is currently pursuing a second master's degree at the University of Montana, expected to graduate in May 2024.


Matilda actively contributes to her community through volunteer work with SoftLanding Missoula. She has been honored with scholarships that have supported her academic pursuits. Her research skills and expertise in labor, environmental economics, and energy economics have earned her recognition as a top 5 finalist for GRADCON 2023 at the University of Montana. Matilda is also a recipient of the prestigious Bertha Morton Scholarship, further affirming her academic prowess and dedication to her field.


As a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Economics at the University of Montana, Matilda contributes to the academic community. Coming from a lower middle-class background where certain professions were highly regarded, she has shown resilience and determination in pursuing her passion for economics. Raised by a supportive single mother, Matilda's upbringing instilled values of honesty, integrity, and perseverance.


With an unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in economics, Matilda Kabutey-Ongor exemplifies resilience and dedication. Her impressive academic background, research accomplishments, and community engagement demonstrate her determination to contribute significantly in her field and beyond.

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