Embracing the Journey

For Arezo, English was her 5th language to learn when she arrived in the US. As a young girl of 12 years, Arezo had a lot to learn in a new country, not just English. Adjusting to a new culture, navigating the school system, and having to translate for her mother, Arezo had to take on more responsibility than most 12-year-olds. She has big dreams for her future — she wants to be a Doctor. When we asked her where she gets her big dreams from, she said:

“From my mom! When we were going to come here, my mom did it all by herself. She went to Istanbul and she talked for us so we could come here.  She is a strong woman, but now she is sick. If I were a doctor I could help my mom get better. She is the best ever!”

On any typical day her warm smile greets you when she walks through the doors of the Refugee Education Center. With the help of her volunteers, Arezo has been excelling at school. She is a straight “A” student, and making friends everyday.

This summer, Arezo and her family will celebrate their 2nd anniversary at the Refugee Education Center. With your help we can honor her journey and help more students like Arezo to reach their dreams, but it will take hard work. This year alone, you have helped us reach more refugee families than ever before. We are tutoring 68 students on a weekly basis, our highest number to date. The Refugee Education Center has also served over 700 refugee parents and students though our services. Yet, there are still a lot of students who need our support.

Support of refugees in the community happens when we all come together and unify around the cause. For all refugee families in West Michigan to feel welcomed and to thrive, we have to be intentional. Thankfully, our community has been a welcoming community for refugee families for over 35 years. Yet we know that Planting roots in a new place is just not the end of a journey but a new beginning. We believe that now is more important than ever to show up in the life of another and to walk along side their journey. Will you come journey with us?

As always, Thank You.


  1. REPLY
    Kelly says

    My sweet Arezo! I had the privledge of being her first teacher, I know her story well and this still brought tears to my eyes!

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