Students stepped into the reality of thousands of refugees when the Senior Capstone Group of Phil Hawthorn, Noah Meyer, Spencer Mullins and Jacob Troutwine hosted a refugee camp simulation for freshmen.
"We want to do it as a way to advocate for the refugees more than just working with them and as a way to get kids in our school interested," said Meyer.
Hawthorn agreed, "We want others to empathize with local refugees and help others understand the crisis, struggles and frustrations that refugees have gone through just to get here."
The simulation was based off one prepared by Catholic Charities of Louisville, Kentucky. Students were put into groups (or families) and tasked with crossing a fictitious border made of string and bells. If the families made it across the border, they would have to go to specific stations such as registration, a health center, school, and nutrition center before they could go to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Anastasia Stowers '20 went through the simulation and said, "At first it was really frustrating and as I got through it, I realized how refugees are treated when they try to get a new country. I didn't like that feeling.
"I now have a greater appreciation for what refugees have to go through," Stowers continued. "It made me have a greater appreciation for what I have in my life and that I take things for granted too much."
Mullins noted, "We want the students to feel the frustration of what a refugee might feel like if they're at a camp. So the students will go through a process where they might not have the right paper work signed or they might have to go back and do something tedious. This hopefully gives them a partial understanding of what refugees can feel like on a daily basis."
Troutwine added, "When we were running the simulation, I was running a station where students have to complete paperwork in another language that they're not familiar with. That's a reality for the refugees so we empathize with them."
"They're idea of setting up a refugee simulation highlights the real struggles refugees across the world face everyday," reflected group's mentor, Brett Chmiel '02.
The Capstone group has been working with Catholic Social Service's Refugee Resettlement Program to prepare for the simulation. They hosted the simulation again on Wednesday, January 18 from 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. in the library. The simulation was open to all high school students. Refugees from the Dayton area volunteered at the simulation. Students from the Dayton Regional STEM School and Oakwood High School who have been involved with the Refugee Resettlement Program also attended.
Posted January 12, 2017, Updated February 2, 2017