Reaching across borders: Junior founds Friends of Refugees Club


The Friends of Refugees Club meets in Ms. Rose’s room after school one day. Working in collaboration with the official non-profit group by the same name, the new club works on aiding the large refugee population in Clarkston, GA.

Ava Godbey, Staff Writer

It’s no secret that St. Pius X students are both empathetic and passionate about their community, but junior Emma Crouch has taken her empathy a step further. 

With the help of faculty moderator Mrs. Rebecca Rose, Crouch introduced a new club this school year, Friends of Refugees. 

The club’s purpose is to help the larger refugee community in Clarkston build their lives here in Georgia. 

According to the official Friends of Refugees organization, they,“seek to deploy targeted theories of change in each program that are ultimately anchored in the 8 key principles developed over the last 40 years by practitioners who have built upon John Perkin’s original three R’s of Relocation, Reconciliation and Redistribution to building flourishing communities.” 

Crouch fully believes in the mission statement saying, “I want our St. Pius community to utilize our resources and come together in order to help the refugees in Clarkston build their new life. Starting a new life is hard enough, but I hope as a community we can make it a little bit easier.” 

Her faculty sponsor Mrs. Rose wholeheartedly agrees. 

“The Gospel of Matthew recounts how Jesus’ toddlerhood involved the violence to the Holy Innocents and resulted in the Holy Family becoming refugees in Egypt. To know that students at SPX share the same love and desire to connect our two communities together in service really inspires me,” Mrs. Rose explained. 

Crouch attempted to start the club her sophomore year but was put on hold due to Coronavirus restrictions and club limitations. She was finally able to get it off of the ground this winter after lots of preparations. 

“I first wanted to start the club sophomore year after volunteering at the Friends of Refugees afterschool program many times but right when I started to work on creating the club, the school shut down because of Covid. Once junior year started, I was able to talk with Ms. Rose to get the club going,” Crouch said. 

Despite uncertain times, the Friends of Refugees Club has found service opportunities and ways to give back for students. 

Crouch worked tirelessly with the St. Pius administration and the Clarkston Friends of Refugees foundation to procure these opportunities. 

“Ms. McDaniel [a Clarkston volunteer] helped me find other ways such as food packaging, delivery, harvesting food in the Jolly Ave community garden, and collecting certain items that would be useful for the refugee community in Clarkston,” she explained. 

The first club meeting was held on January 14, and the participants were excited to give back to their community. 

Junior Ellen Claxton said, “It is a great way to help people who may be less fortunate and have fun doing it.” 

“We are going to collect items like books and art for kids, so it will make everyone involved happy,” junior Emmy Glenn said. 

Friends of Refugees meetings will be held Tuesdays before or after school, and more information can be found on the Daily Lion Lowdown. 

Breaking down boundaries is tough, but Friends of Refugees is determined to create a lasting positive impact for both the St. Pius community and our brothers and sisters in Clarkston.