At JRS/USA, we think that no matter where you live there are ways that you can respond to today’s refugee crisis. Doing just one thing in your community can help refugees and migrants. Last year, students from Jesuit Schools across the country, including Gonzaga College High School, Walsh Jesuit High School, and Spring Hill College made an impact at their schools and communities.
Gonzaga College High School hosted an annual “Ignatian Heritage Day” focused on refugees and displaced people. During the day, more than 900 students and community members participated in the JRS Walk a Mile in My Shoes simulation, where they were able to sit in refugee tents set up by ShelterBox and experience the difficult reality refugees face in terms of resources and limitations. Students also raised awareness about refugee issues on their campus by partnering with JRS/USA and UNHCR to produce Global Conversations, a video project showcasing cross-cultural conversations between Gonzaga students and refugee students around the world.
Walsh High School organized a JRS Refugee Action Team on campus last year. The Action Team raised awareness about refugees and the displaced within the community. They started by participating in JRS’s Any Refugee campaign, which calls upon people of all ages to create postcards for refugee children in JRS schools around the world. Students wrote messages of hope and friendship on postcards that were then distributed to the children by JRS staff. The team also began to distribute resources to students to educate their community on the many faces of displacement.
At Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, a passion for social justice and service drove the JRS Refugee Action Team to advocate for refugees and fight stereotypes about the globally displaced. Over the past two years, the Spring Hill Action Team has found different ways to engage with refugees and advocacy. A centerpiece of their programming is the JRS Walk a Mile in My Shoes refugee simulation. As a part of Spring Hill’s annual Social Justice Week, the Action Team gives students and community members in Mobile the opportunity to walk through a series of stations that replicate the refugee experience.
These are just a few of the schools whose continuous efforts have encouraged others to take action and #Do1Thing.