Although Northern Virginia is among the wealthiest regions of the country, thousands of poor and vulnerable people struggle to survive in our communities. They turn to Catholic Charities daily to help them secure the necessities of life.
Recently, at two ministries, we celebrated clients, offering them “a little something special.”
As 350 refugee students, mostly from Afghanistan, successfully completed their academic year as part of the Virginia Refugee Student Achievement Program, Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services honored them at two festive events.
The first, held at the Fredericksburg Nationals baseball park, featured a balloon artist, face painter, magician/entertainer, and a DJ who had all the kids up and dancing.
The second, held at Our Lady of Lourdes in Arlington, offering facepainting, games and free photo sessions for families.
Of these students being celebrated, high school graduates received the gift of laptops for the next stage of their academic career.
Event organizer Kathleen Renfroe said that refugee parents were profoundly affected as they watched their children laughing, dancing, and engaging with others once again. The effects of escaping the violence and atrocities of war in their homeland over the last few years have taken a toll on their young lives.
One mom confided that her family’s exodus from Afghanistan had been traumatic. Traveling 7,500 miles to America, struggling to learn a new language, finding a home, new jobs, and adjusting to new schools was overwhelming. At times she wondered if resettling in the United States was a mistake.
But then, after the celebration…