How FREE began the program to seek/provide education scholarships for refugee Kids
Kelli Czaykowsky, an Adventist living in Atlanta, discovered the plight of Clarkston’s refugees. “The children shared their stories of fleeing for their lives, being separated from their families, watching their homes being burned, and trying to survive in the wild. I couldn’t sleep for three nights.
“I saw the kids living in gang- and drug-riddled neighborhoods. They slept on the floors of run-down apartments infested with rats and roaches. The burden on my heart was so great, I had to do something.
“‘God,’ I prayed, ‘I’m only one person, but if you open the doors for me to make a difference, I’ll walk through them.’”
In 2010 Kelli and two close friends founded a nonprofit organization called FREE, which stands for Friends of Refugees Providing Education and Empowerment. Through FREE, Kelli and a group of volunteers provide refugees with the resources needed to empower them to become self-sufficient, thriving members of the community. FREE volunteers share basic necessities including used clothing, furniture, household goods, mattresses, food, etc. We also provide in-home English as a Second Language classes for adults and one-on-one tutoring for students plus we offer assistance with filling out forms, job searches, and training. We take refugees to medical and legal appointments, paint and repair apartments, plant gardens, and clean up trash in the refugee neighborhoods.
“When I see these kids succeed after being brought up in really tough situations, it makes me feel amazing,” Kelli says. “This is God at work. I’m just a little part of His plan.”
Above is quoted from an article called "Finally Free" by Ricky Oliveras, a video producer for the Office of Adventist Mission at the Seventh-day Adventist Church world headquarters.
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