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JHS Dallas students help refugees
May 11, 2011

JHS Dallas students help refugees
Quang D. Tran, S.J. poses with AAOS founding members Andrew Zaugg, Jason Nguyen, Daniel Eboagu, Orion Salters, Connor Robison, Justin Montgomery, Grant Uy, Jimmy Bucklar, Tyler Kromkowski, Christian Koeijmans, Kyle Shannon and Kellen McAlone. (JHS Dallas photo)
"JRS—AAOS gives me a chance to serve on a global level those whose needs are vast. As a member of this JRS Action Team, I have been given an opportunity to carry out the mission of 'Men for Others,' a mission entrusted to me as a student of a Jesuit " said Daniel Eboagu, AAOS' Secretary

by Kim Miller
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA

(Washington, D.C.) May 11, 2011 — 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 Mr. Quang D. Tran, S.J., 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:

Richard Perry, Director of Community Service at Dallas Jesuit and another AAOS Moderator shared, "In the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching, justice is about the formation of relationships across borders and boundaries. This program will lead us past boundaries and toward friendship, awareness, and action." 

"JRS—AAOS gives me a chance to serve on a global level those whose needs are vast. As a member of this JRS Action Team, I have been given an opportunity to carry out the mission of 'Men for Others,' a mission entrusted to me as a student of a Jesuit " said Daniel Eboagu, AAOS' Secretary. 

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.

To form your own JRS Action Team, please contact Kim Miller at kmiller (at) jesuit.org 

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is an international Catholic non-governmental organization whose mission is to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. 

JRS/USA witnesses to God’s presence in vulnerable and often forgotten people driven from their homes by conflict, natural disaster, economic injustice, or violation of their human rights.  

As one of the ten geographic regions of the Jesuit Refugee Service, JRS/USA serves as the major refugee outreach arm of U.S. Jesuits and their institutional ministries, mobilizing their response to refugee situations in the U.S. and abroad. Through our advocacy and fund raising efforts, JRS/USA also provides support for the work of JRS throughout the world.  

JRS/USA gives help, hope, ear and voice to vulnerable people on the move by being present to and bearing witness to their plight; by relieving their human suffering and restoring hope; by addressing the root causes of their displacement and improving international responses to refugee situations. 

In addition, JRS/USA inspires the Ignatian family and others to respond together to the needs of refugees and displaced persons worldwide and forges strong partnerships with like-minded institutions and agencies devoted to the cause of refugees and displaced persons.

JRS works in more than 57 countries worldwide to meet the educational, health, social and other needs of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. JRS services are made available to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs.

JRS provides primary and secondary education to approximately 170,000 children, and undertakes advocacy to ensure that all displaced children are provided with a quality education.

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.


Press Contact Information
Mr Christian Fuchs
communications@jrsusa.org
202-462-0400 ext. 5946