From left, Sarah and Madelyn Crotzer, sisters and co-founders of Youth Helping Refugee Youth, place a collection bin at 1950 Camino Durasnilla for donations of school-related items to benefit refugee students recently-resettled in Albuquerque. Courtesy photo
A local Youth Helping Refugee Youth drive is underway to help recently-resettled refugee youth in Albuquerque succeed when school begins in August. Through Aug. 6, donations of the following school-related items are being sought from local youth and anyone else in the community who is still young at heart:
- Antiperspirant deodorant twin-packs (for PE and home use) – scented is preferred;
- New socks for middle and high school students;
- USB thumb drives – “swag” items, such as received at vendor trade shows, are okay;
- New earbuds – “swag” earbuds are great, but retail earbuds are great too;
- $25 Walmart gift cards for purchasing class-specific items, such as calculators, etc.; and
- Small uplifting items for decorating binders or clipping to backpacks, including clip-on travel-sized hand sanitizer.
Local youth are also encouraged to consider providing the following:
- Friendship note card(s) containing an invitation to be a friend on Snapchat or Instagram – making new friends is super important for refugees! A sample message might read “Hello from Los Alamos! Let’s be friends on Snapchat! My username is [fill in the blank].” Or, “Best wishes for a fantastic school year! Follow me on Instagram at [username].”
All items may be dropped off anytime at 1950 Camino Durasnilla, or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church at 2390 North Rd.
“This is the second year we’ve organized a Youth Helping Refugee Youth effort,” Sarah Crotzer, one of the teens behind the youth-conceived initiative, said. “Refugee students and their families face many challenges as they strive to learn a new language, adapt to a new culture, and rebuild their lives in a new community. Our goal is to alleviate some of the hardship that refugee youth experience.”
Through Interfaith Los Alamos, churches in Los Alamos and White Rock are teaming up this month across lines of faith to provide 35 new backpacks and the necessary school supplies for distribution to recently-resettled refugee youth in Albuquerque. The Youth Helping Refugee Youth effort is a complementary outgrowth and aims to provide supplemental items that local students say are just as important to happiness and academic success as the all-important backpacks and basic school supplies.
“We worked with the staff at Lutheran Family Services in Albuquerque who oversee the distribution of the backpacks and basic school supplies to the resettled refugee youth,” Madelyn Crotzer, another co-founder of the initiative, said. “As students ourselves, it wasn’t hard to identify some items that don’t appear on standard school supply lists but which are just as important to student success. We want the refugee youth to have access to these items. A donation of antiperspirant deodorant might not sound very elegant, but all of the items being requested are incredibly useful and appreciated.”
Both teens encourage their fellow students to think about what school would be like without the items on the list, and then be generous and donate what they are able.
All supplies will be delivered to Lutheran Family Services in Albuquerque for distribution to the refugee students. Questions about the youth drive or the main backpacks and school supply effort may be directed to INTERFAITH.LOSALAMOS@GMAIL. COM, the organization coordinating both refugee assistance activities