13 youth students stand with their art projects
IRC youth students stand with their art projects.
Photo: IRC

IRC’s Youth Team partnered with a local Charlottesville business, The Scrappy Elephant, to provide refugee youth a space to create an art project. The Scrappy Elephant is an art supply store and studio that takes unwanted arts and crafts materials out of landfills and gives them back to the community to create new works of art from recycled materials. In the studio, the students were able to socialize and be creative in a safe and positive space. The event included 16 students, some of whom have been in the United States for several years, as well as some new arrivals from the past few weeks and months. In particular, two new arrivals from the Democratic Republic of Congo met students from the same region and formed connections before even starting school. The students were able to engage with each other through art despite speaking different languages, being of different ages, and coming from different backgrounds.  

Two students sit at a desk working on their art projects.
Youth students work on their art projects at the Scrappy Elephant.
Photo: IRC