During our time of distance learning, all 7th grade students read the book “Refugee” by Alan Gratz in Literature class. It tells the story of 3 refugee children in 3 different times of history. The children are all 13 years old; Josef’s story takes place in 1930’s Nazi Germany and tells of his escape; the second is of Isabel who is fleeing Cuba in 1994; the third is Mahmoud who is fleeing Syria in 2015. The students were very moved by the story. As a result, a few of our extension assignments involved outreach to current refugees. Many of the students participated in both of the activities below.
The first one is with care.org. This organization has a way to send a message that is shared with other refugee children in the world to help brighten their day and strengthen their spirit. If anyone else out there wants to participate, it is a free, fast, and easy way to reach out! https://www.care.org/get-involved/letters-hope
The second is a program put out by the “USA for UNHCR-the UN Refugee Agency”. The program reads, “1 BILLION MILES TO SAFETY- People forced to flee violence and persecution take extraordinary risks to reach safety for their families. At a time of unprecedented global displacement, we are coming together to honor the resilience and determination of refugees and walk in solidarity with them. Together, we are challenging ourselves to cover one billion miles in 12 months, the same number of miles refugees worldwide travel each year to reach the nearest point of safety.”
Mrs. Werner partnered with us to help us all track our miles and log them with the UNHCR. Mrs. Werner, myself, and many of the 7th grade students, collectively, walked 472.5 miles for refugees!
Finally, Mr. Nickodemus partnered with us to have a project where the students create artwork which express feelings and perspectives about the refugee situation. They were inspired by other artists around the world who created artwork to raise awareness and money for the cause of refugees. Their program is called “We Were Strangers, Too” and is run from “The Anti-Defamation League (ADL)”. I included two examples of student work below. The first was created by Becca Williams. The second is a collage of actual refugees created by Bella Byer.
Written by Mrs. Larissa McCauley ~ Grade 7 Literature