Sarah Crotzer, left, and Madelyn Crotzer, sisters and co-founders of ‘Youth Helping Refugee Youth’, place a green collection bin at 1950 Camino Durasnilla for donations of school-related items to benefit refugee students recently-resettled in Albuquerque. Courtesy photo
Members of the 2019 ‘Youth Helping Refugee Youth’ Advisory Board met recently to discuss the kick-off of this year’s drive. Clockwise from lower left, Kezia Tripp, Hannah Mullen, Talia Ben-Naim, Ashley Lestone, Madelyn Crotzer, Sarah Crotzer, Natalie Aulwes, Amaya Coblentz, Alyssa Parker and Mei Eutsler. Courtesy photo
For the third summer in a row, a group of local teens is asking for the community’s help to lift the lives of 85 middle- and high-school refugee youth whose families have been recently resettled in Albuquerque.
Through July 31, 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;
- New earbuds for use in language class and standardized testing;
- $25 Walmart gift cards for purchasing class-specific items, such as lab notebooks, PE shoes, etc.;
- Small uplifting items for decorating binders or clipping to backpacks; and
- Friendship notecards as explained below.
Contributing to this year’s drive is an easy way to make a positive difference in the life of a student who, as a resettled refugee, is overcoming the daunting challenges of learning a new language, adapting to a new culture, and building a new life in a new community.
The items being requested are not found on traditional school supply lists, yet are recognized by local students as being essential to student success and can alleviate some of the hardship that refugee youth experience.
The least expensive item on the list is in some ways the most important: a friendship notecard containing a positive message of encouragement and, when possible, an invitation to become a friend on Snapchat or Instagram. The message can be as simple as “Greetings from Los Alamos! Best wishes for success in school this year! Let’s be friends on Snapchat. My user name is [username].” Or “Wishing you the best this school year! Let’s be friends! Follow me on Instagram at [username].”
Items may be dropped off anytime using the green bin outside 1950 Camino Durasnilla, or Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church at 2390 North Road. A collection box is also located at the Los Alamos Family YMCA. For safekeeping, donations of gift cards and earbuds should be handed directly to staff at the church office or the YMCA front counter.
This summer’s Youth Helping Refugee Youth drive complements a simultaneous effort by Los Alamos and White Rock churches that have teamed up across lines of faith to provide new backpacks and standard school supplies necessary to outfit refugee youth for their first day of school in August.
All supplies will be delivered the first week of August to Lutheran Family Services in Albuquerque for distribution to the refugee students.
For more information about the Youth Helping Refugee Youth effort or to request a teen presentation for your local youth group, contact co-founders and sisters Madelyn and Sarah Crotzer at YHRY.LosAlamos@gmail.com.
A sampling of the items collected during last year’s successful drive. Courtesy photo