KSL: To The Rescue
How a call 'to the rescue' inspired Utahns in a year's worth of service to refugees
By Candice Madsen | Published on KSL.com on April 2nd, 2017
Reposted by TSOS, April 8, 2017 (Original post)
SALT LAKE CITY — It’s been one year since members of the LDS Church were called upon to reach out to refugees. See how this call to service has inspired many people to step outside their comfort zones to help those most in need.
A young woman, drawn to help in whatever way she could, set up a successful nonprofit organization that now provides thousands of pounds of needed items to those fleeing their dangerous homelands.
Some members have traveled to refugee camps to show compassionate care, while others serve closer to home helping in their own communities. It’s a movement that is gaining momentum — it’s a desire to help those who cannot help themselves.
The Emerald Project is a Utah-based organization that carefully designs dialogues to engage with non-Muslims to make Salt Lake Valley a more welcoming home to Muslims. As many of our refugee friends belong to the Muslim faith, we applaud opportunities that foster understanding and were pleased to support The Emerald Project’s 3rd annual “Slam the Islamophobia” event on February 15th.
Refugees often risk their lives crossing deserts, jungles, and oceans all in the search for shelter, freedom, or happiness. Yet, even once they’ve reached physical safety, mental mountains emerge that make daily life an uphill climb. At the November 2022 conference for the Utah Chapter of the Society for Public Health Education (USOPHE), presenters Shurooq Al Jewari and Sasha Sloan discussed mental health and inclusion, focusing on immigrants and refugees.
Holidays are an important time to include newcomers. Newcomers are often aching for the traditions and holiday magic they knew at home - and the connections with family and friends. The Garcias* came from a strong family and community that knew generous and giving holiday traditions. I knew, when I met our new friends from Venezuela, the rich bond we would have; this was a kindred spirit family. Even though we have been bad at communicating (Google Translate is such a false hope), it was easy to find connections that helped us love each other.