Dallas Jesuit High School Launches Jesuit Refugee Service Action Team for Africa
Tags: Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
At Jesuit High School in Dallas, freshmen Brocke Stepteau and Justin Rotich are gearing up to spread the word about refugee issues and support JRS’ mission to accompany, serve, and defend refugees worldwide. Last week the students launched the American/African Outreach Society (AAOS), an official JRS Action Team, on their high school’s campus.
“Having watched the many natural disasters that have occurred across the country recently, and learning more about the lives of displaced persons and refugees overall, I am excited about the opportunity to help and support refugees through our JRS action team,” said JRS Action Team co-founder Brocke Stepteau.
Co-founder Justin Rotich added that he’d like their Action Team to “be a voice for the forgotten and vulnerable [refugees], especially the children, and raise awareness of their cry for help.”
The AAOS members know “that issues involving Christ’s poor, no matter where they are, are local issues that call for prayer, discernment, and action,” said Jesuit Quang Tran, a teacher at the school and AAOS Faculty Moderator.
The two students have spent weeks planning out their club’s mission and projects as well as gathering support from the school’s faculty and students. While the Action Team hopes to support refugees worldwide, they will focus their efforts on refugees in the Kakuma Camp in Kenya. JRS runs multiple projects in the bustling camp of nearly 85,000 refugees including pastoral care, trauma counseling, and special education.
AAOS hopes to support these programs by raising funds for solar paneled lighting to improve safety and accessibility as well as gathering special education games to meet students’ developmental needs. AAOS also hopes to “educate more on the needs of refugees, particularly those located at the Kakuma Refugee camp,” said Rotich. Their Action Team already has planning underway for a Refugee Awareness Day to be held next year.
Students and faculty at Dallas Jesuit have been very receptive to the formation of AAOS, and the group already boasts 12 members. As a campus dedicated to social justice in the Jesuit tradition, it seems the Action Group is a natural fit:
JRS Action Teams are groups of anywhere from three to 100 members that rally around their common concern for refugee and forcibly displaced persons, and their drive to effect positive social change in their local and global neighborhoods. These teams support JRS/USA’s advocacy efforts by forming a grassroots movement to inform, educate, and empower local communities to take action and demand responsible actions from the U.S. government and beyond.
While teams vary in size, structure, and activities, they share the common goal to support JRS/USA’s advocacy efforts and refugee and forcibly displaced issues at large. Further, JRS Action Teams commit to meeting regularly and coordinating activities and events that promote a brighter future for our refugee brothers and sisters.