What started as a simple reading of Refugee by Alan Gatz at a Sabot Stony Point English class, turned into a generous multi-layered project that directly supports clients at the IRC in Richmond. Following their self-organized school supply drive, students at the middle school delivered bags filled with over 300 school supplies to the Richmond office. These supplies will provide client youth with the tools they need to complete another semester.
When Sabot Stony Point reached out to the IRC to connect with refugee resettlement organizations in the Richmond community, Youth Program Specialist, Kiana Graves, and Capacity Building AmeriCorps Member, France-Elvie Banda, coordinated educational presentations and discussions with the class. The discussions gave students a deeper understanding of the refugee resettlement experience and helped them to connect the book Refugee to their own community. The Sabot Stony Point students were eager to turn their knowledge to action and support clients at the IRC in Richmond. Two of the projects were developed in consultation with the IRC - a Richmond community website guide, and a book titled Goodnight, Richmond, which introduces the city’s well-known sites. As one student reflected, “I learned a lot more about refugees than I knew before. I think I’ve also started to be more considerate and think more about what it would be like to be somewhere completely new.” Another student stated that they hoped to see refugees at one of the many Richmond sites they have recommended.
The book, Goodnight, Richmond, written and illustrated by the students, will be translated into three languages - Dari, Swahili, and Arabic. The IRC in Richmond is thankful for such a meaningful partnership with the students at Sabot Stony Point and looks forward to sharing these resources with clients.