Interfaith Los Alamos Supports New Refugee Students

A teenage student from a refugee family with his new backpack containing a complete set of school supplies. Courtesy/ILA
A young refugee student holds his new supplies. Courtesy/ILA
Refugee students recently arrived in Albuquerque gather with their school supplies. Courtesy/ILA
Interfaith Los Alamos News:
This summer has been a very busy time for school-age kids of refugee families recently arrived in Albuquerque.
They have to get prepared to enroll in a completely strange (to them) school, while at the same time learn English, how to get around Albuquerque without getting lost, and the “10,000” other new things about American culture that they are suddenly thrust in the middle of.
This year there has been an unusually large number of families arriving from the huge United Nations refugee center located in Tanzania. They have fled from dangerous situations in their home countries, mostly in Africa. Some have spent years in the refugee center. And now a (very) small percentage of the refugee population has been admitted to the US through the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services program, and some of these have been resettled in Albuquerque under the auspices of Lutheran Family Services.
Fortunately, thanks to the generosity of the local Los Alamos faith-based community through participation in Interfaith Los Alamos, many of the things local kids take for granted have now been provided to these families to help ease the transition into a strange new school environment. More than 50 sets of notebooks and school supplies were provided for the eight-week summer school program, in which newly arrived middle and high school age refugee students learned not just English and introductory course work, but also something about the social skills needed to be successful in an American middle or high school.
The Youth Helping Refugee Youth component of Interfaith Los Alamos provided more than 80 sets of socks, deodorant, earbuds, and personal notes of welcome, all collected by local teenage volunteers. And more than 70 backpacks, each containing a complete set of the necessary school supplies for ages from kindergarten through high school, were delivered in time for the start of the new school year.
All of this was accomplished through the generosity of local folks of all ages in this community — both humbling and inspiring to see. Interfaith Los Alamos is a grass roots organization with points of contact located in many of the local faith-based congregations. To learn more about Interfaith Los Alamos, send an email to