The Rapidian

Local refugees integrate with courage, strength

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

In honor of the upcoming World Refugee Day Celebration on Saturday June 23, Bethany Christian Services PARA, along with the American Red Cross, are posting weekly stories of families and individuals that are being helped in adjusting to their new lives in Grand Rapids.
Underwriting support from:
Two Burundian refugee women outside of English class at Grand Rapids International Fellowship.

Two Burundian refugee women outside of English class at Grand Rapids International Fellowship. /Jacki Warren

As a result of the programs Bethany Christian Services PARA provides, families and individuals have successfully integrated into the greater Grand Rapids community.

Traumatized and struggling with alcoholism, an Iraqi refugee joined PARA’s job skills class. The class brought his work ethic to a new level and he was able to find a job. He has paid his travel loan off in full and has maintained a stable, good paying job. The job skills class allowed him to realize his potential as a member of the greater Grand Rapids community. Along with this story of perseverance, there are countless other stories of struggles won through courage and hard work.

A client is serving his adoptive country through military service. Another client has moved from general labor to being trained by the manager of our department. A few of our Bhutanese clients have started a successful grocery store in Kentwood that sells produce mostly from India and Nepal.

Not only are stories of success, courage ,and strength in the business world inspiring but so are the small successes that happen each day as a refugee learns how to cope and achieve in their new environment. Simple tasks such as taking the bus and learning the alphabet empower refugee clients.

Join us as we celebrate the courage of refugees worldwide and seek to empower and encourage refugees in the Grand Rapids area.


World Refugee Day Celebration!
Arts and Food Festival
Saturday, June 23
10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
First United Methodist Church
First Place
207 East Fulton St.


Learn more in a previous Rapidian article.



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