Refugees in Distress club hosts assembly

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    Members of Refugees in Distress pose with visitors who spoke at the ARHS assembly to raise awareness of the plight of Syrian refugees. Photo: Lauren Philips-Jackson
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    Speakers Katty Alhayek, Ali Aljundi, and Steven Heydemannn talk about the Syrian Refugee Crisis at ARHS. Photo: Lauren Phillips-Jackson

On Friday, Feb. 12, ARHS student Lauren Phillips-Jackson hosted an assembly with the help of the new club Refugees in Distress.

The purpose of the assembly was to bring awareness about Syrian refugees to high schoolers, and to get them talking about the issue.

Phillips-Jackson was given a $1,000 grant from the PGO to make the assembly possible.

Phillips-Jackson was able to find speakers Katty Alhayek, Ali Aljundi, and Steven Heydemann through research she conducted and talks that she went to.

Two of the three speakers were actually Syrian refugees and spoke to the audience of their personal experiences.

Refugees in Distress is a new club that works to help Syrian Refugees.

The club puts up posters with facts about the current crisis, and they have even been featured in the news for the hard work that they are doing. Their overall goal is to raise $3,000 to buy and give Shelter Boxes that contain supplies to refugees.

So far they have raised over $2,000. Much of their fundraising is done at farmers’ markets on the Amherst Common.

Refugees in Distress’s main goals are to educate the community, raise money to help, and most of all to move the issue away from being just numbers and headlines and to make it something real.

“Everyone should have somewhere safe to go,” said Phillips-Jackson.

To bring more awareness to students, the group will visit Greenfield and Amherst schools to talk about the hardships that refugees are currently facing.