AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – In a remarkable display of empathy and compassion, a class of 5th grade students from Fort River Elementary School in Amherst has embarked on a mission to improve the treatment and support of refugees.
Collaborating with the Welcome Home Refugee Resettlement Program, a project under The Catholic Charities of Springfield, these young advocates are determined to make a difference in the lives of refugees arriving in their community.
The campaign, initiated during class time, aims to raise awareness and address the challenges faced by refugees, with the students actively engaging volunteers and community members. The inspiration for their efforts came through a meeting with Margot Greenwald, a dedicated volunteer, and Fahim Sahlman, a refugee from Afghanistan who fled due to his affiliation with the U.S. Government.
Reflecting on his encounter with the students, Fahim expressed his gratitude, stating, “Meeting students from Fort River School was one of my most memorable moments here in the United States. Those students gave me hope that immigrants in the USA are not alone, and we can all work hand in hand for a better world.” Their encounter with Fahim’s story has solidified their commitment to the cause, fueling their determination to create a positive impact.
The students have already organized a successful necessities drive, collecting six large boxes of household goods that will be immediately put to use by arriving refugees. Additionally, they have planned an obstacle course event at Fort River School, scheduled for Saturday, May 27, which will shed light on the challenges refugees face while providing volunteer opportunities and information on local organizations that support refugees.
Tamera Sullivan-Daley, the principal of Fort River School, highlighted the alignment between the 5th grade class endeavors and the school’s motto, “We Choose Love.” She emphasized that choosing love involves acting with compassion, respect, courage, and a justice-mindset. The students’ commitment to improving the lives of marginalized individuals seeking peace in a new country reflects the essence of choosing love in action.
The efforts of these young advocates, driven by their genuine care and desire to make a difference, demonstrate the power of compassion and collective action in creating a more inclusive and supportive community. Their campaign serves as an inspiration for others to join the cause and prioritize the well-being and integration of refugees.
The obstacle course event will take place on Saturday, May 27 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Fort River School, 70 South East Street in Amherst.