Aggies Call On Local Community To Aid International Refugee Children
MSC Freshman Leadership International (FLI) at Texas A&M University is calling on the local community to participate in its annual “Students Helping Aid Refugees through Education and Service” (SHARES) program, benefitting international refugee children at the Las Americas Newcomer School in Houston.
“Our program is being implemented a little different this year,” said Kokulen Sothan, executive director of Latitude (a FLI subcommittee). “Instead of collecting clothing and housewares, we are asking the community to contribute gift cards as well as handmade greeting cards.”
He and other members of the organization said they are happy to continue this program, especially after visiting Las Americas.
The Las Americas School educates recent immigrant and refugee students who have little English proficiency and who often have limited formal education in their home countries. The goal is to guide students in acculturation into the U.S. school system and give them basic skills in English and core academic studies. Refugees from over 35 nations are represented in the school population, with most children coming from Central America.
“After my first visit, my outlook on the refugee crisis completely changed,” Sothan said. “I was able to see how truly difficult it is for people to escape their horrible living conditions. My goal for this year is to extend our gratitude and welcome these children to Texas to start this new chapter of their lives.”
Until Nov. 16, MSC FLI is accepting gift cards in any monetary amount, with a preference for cards for stores such as Ross and Marshall’s, H-E-B, Walmart, and other similar retailers. Gift cards can be dropped off at the MSC Box Office, located on the first floor of Rudder Tower. MSC Box Office hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Handmade greeting cards also will be accepted by SHARES through Nov. 16. Those interested in making cards can wish the children and their families a Happy Thanksgiving or express other sentiments of welcome and gratitude. Greeting cards can be dropped off at the entrance to the MSC Student Programs Office, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“This is the fourth year MSC FLI has worked with Las Americas Newcomer School,” said Rhonda Collins, program advisor for MSC FLI. “The members of MSC FLI look forward to supporting Las Americas each year by taking the items collected from the drive to the school and by having a workday of painting, gardening and other projects. Due to COVID precautions, MSC FLI will not have the workday this fall, but are hoping the greeting cards will still let the students know how much Aggies care about refugees and the work of the teachers at Las Americas.”
For information, visit the MSC FLI website.