In recent years, a thriving refugee community has developed in Utah. These refugees come from all around the world, from Asia and Africa to the Middle East and the Balkans, to settle here in hope of a better, more stable life. American citizens, both in volunteer and working capacities, play a crucial role in helping refugees adapt to their new homes.
Join us as a panel of current and former BYU students who work with refugees share their experiences in the relief effort taking place in Utah, the variety of opportunities there are to work in this rewarding field, and how you can get involved.
Erik Summers is a senior in the Middle East Studies/Arabic program at BYU. Summers has worked closely with refugees for over five years in various capacities with refugee aid organizations including: Lutheran Social Services, LDS Charities, and the International Rescue Committee, where he is currently interning on the casework team.
Julia Cox is in her final semester at BYU and majoring in health science. Cox is currently interning with the International Rescue Committee as a health promotion intern, where she is responsible for teaching classes to help refugees understand the U.S. healthcare system.
Gary Crofts is a Middle East Studies/Arabic major at BYU and currently working at a school that caters to refugees in grades 7–12. Crofts works in an after school program for students and runs a peer leadership program. This summer he will be going to Finland for an internship with a refugee integration program.
Josh Balleck graduated from BYU in June 2015 as a Middle East Studies and Arabic major. Balleck currently works with the Department of Workforce Services in the Refugee Services office as an Americorp VISTA volunteer. He works with twelve different refugee communities from Africa, the Middle East, and South East Asia. Balleck assists with various capacity building events and projects within these communities and helps local community based organizations with nonprofit training and grant management.