Last week, Knoxville Internationals Network (a.k.a. KIN) did something we’ve never done before. We had a volunteer appreciation dinner. Why do such a thing now? Because we’re celebrating five years as a nonprofit, and it was only natural to celebrate our birthday by celebrating those at the heart of our organization: our volunteers!
In the past five years, more than 500 volunteers have passed through KIN.
Some of them came in for a single project, some stayed for a season, but nearly 300 remain active with us. Connecting volunteers with internationals is just what we do. That’s why we’re a network.
But the idea of KIN has been around much longer than five years. In fact, our origins date back to 2010 when a small group of Christ-followers began praying together. Then, in 2011, 40 people from different denominations and organizations first gathered to discuss how they could make a difference in the lives of internationals in metro Knoxville. The first time anyone heard of KIN, we were raising awareness of internationals and their needs through a series of community meetings.
These days, we serve the more than 35,000 internationals in metro Knoxville through our three initiatives of education, health & wellness, and employment/entrepreneurship.
From that small group of pray-ers to more than 500 volunteers, we have impacted metro Knoxville by strengthening the relationship between Knoxville’s native born and newcomers. That’s 1000 arms opened (some figuratively, many literally) to embrace internationals as family.
Five years and five hundred are just two of the numbers. Only God knows how many smiles have passed across previously sad faces, how many hearts have leaped at the sound of a real friend on the phone, how many sleepless nights have been avoided because questions were answered, and how many native-born eyes have opened to the bigger world God continually brings to metro Knoxville.
READY TO BE INVOLVED?
Even though they volunteer their time and energy, it takes funds to support our volunteers and “move the needle” on our three initiatives. In honor of our birthday, would you consider supporting this vital work with $5, $50, or $500? Choose from 3 avenues for donating here. If you give online, you can make your gift recur monthly. Then you’ll know you’re making the biggest difference you can in the lives of metro Knoxville’s newest neighbors.
Editor's Note (09/2022): The numbers have increased, and some of our wording has changed, but even after Covid, we're still here to KINnect people. Please consider becoming a financial partner in this important work.
Read the stories of Knoxville's local internationals and the volunteers who have impacted their lives. Get a first-hand view of what it's like to move here and/or to serve those who've moved here from other countries. Discover how KIN has impacted life and culture in metro Knoxville.