Getting Kind for Refugees: Back to School

The first day of school can be nerve-wracking for anybody. But the first day of school in a brand new country can be downright scary. Today we continue our “Back to School” stories with the story of a family in southern California.

Imagine having to leave your home for fear of your safety, and traveling with your family to start a new life in an unfamiliar country. It’s no secret that immigrants around the world face particular challenges as they struggle to take care of their loved ones. Recently, the Random Acts staff embarked on a coordinated effort to improve the lives of refugee families.

Getting Connected

One of the few fun things about the beginning of a new school year is going shopping for brand new school supplies – freshly sharpened pencils, blank notebooks, and perhaps a lunchbox with one’s favorite superhero. But for some families, new school supplies are not something they can afford. Random Acts US South West Representative Kayla Covert wanted to help a refugee family purchase these supplies and other necessities so that the kids could have a successful start to the school year.

Kayla reached out to the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) San Diego office so that she could connect with a refugee family. The IRC connected Kayla with a family who had just moved to the United States in July from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The mother (and sole provider) of the family would be sending four out of her six children to school in the fall, but they had no school supplies to start the year off right.

Lending a Hand

With the help of Random Acts, Kayla purchased a brand new backpack for each child and filled it to the brim with school supplies. Each child also received two new outfits and a new pair of shoes. “I felt privileged to pack each bag with care and excitement knowing these kids would be starting an amazing new chapter of their lives and by some miracle, I got to be a small part of that journey,” said Kayla. Though Kayla never directly met the family, the IRC made sure the supplies got to the family so that the kids could start the year with a new bag and a new outfit.

“I do wish I would have been able to meet the family or at least delivered the items to them, but I understand that the mother was a little nervous to meet someone new who wasn’t in this circle she had come to trust in her two weeks of being in the US,” said Kayla. “I absolutely love getting to do things like this and would do it again in a heartbeat.” These supplies enabled the kids to start their new school year, in their new country, off right.

Inspired by this act of kindness? We encourage you to reach out to organization near you that provide services for refugee families. We may even be able to offer help for your act!