‘Youth Helping Refugee Youth’ co-founders and sisters Sarah Crotzer, left, and Madelyn Crotzer are surrounded by the outpouring of teen hoodies, winter coats and cold-weather accessories donated by the LAHS community to help recently-resettled refugee teens living and attending school in Albuquerque. Courtesy photo
Items donated by the LAHS community to the ‘Youth Helping Refugee Youth’ winter coat drive. Courtesy photo
The students at Los Alamos High School demonstrated their compassion and generosity this month through the “Youth Helping Refugee Youth” winter coat drive.
LAHS students Sarah Crotzer and her sister Madelyn headed the activities, in conjunction with Interfaith Los Alamos.
“I’d like to recognize and thank the many clubs at the high school that helped us,” Madelyn said. “This coat drive was jointly sponsored by Biblical Burrito Breakfast Club and iVOTE Club, [whose] membership helped us get the word out to our fellow students.”
In fact, the Student Council designated the coat drive an additional giving opportunity for November’s “Month of Giving,” and other clubs got the word out, very successfully. Fifty great-looking hoodies and more than 30 coats were collected. Fleeces, coats in other sizes, hats, scarves and mittens also were donated. These items are not brand new, but in good to excellent shape, freshly laundered and ready for giving.
“I honestly wasn’t sure what kind of response we’d get. I’m so proud of our LAHS community for being willing to give so much,” Sarah said. “To everyone who donated, please know how much your generosity will help recently-resettled refugee families in Albuquerque. Thanks to the tremendous support from the students, their families, and all the LAHS teachers and staff who helped in some way, this coat drive was a phenomenal success!”
Re-settled refugees arrive in the United States with very little. Many are from warmer countries and find – upon being sent to Albuquerque – that winter is a new and challenging experience. These families face a lot of barriers, including language and cultural differences, and financial struggle. Because of Los Alamos students the teen refugees can be warm and dressed like their peers in colorful hoodies.
Interfaith Los Alamos also partnered with six churches in Los Alamos to collect coats for adults, infants and youth. This year more refugees than usual were chosen to resettle in Albuquerque, so the needs were greater, and the community responded from the heart and gave generously. Interfaith Los Alamos has met the need with new coats for all ages, and the teen-approved hoodies. The collections are being delivered Wednesday to Lutheran Family Services. Lutheran Family Services helps support newly re-settled refugees in Albuquerque.