An Adventure Like No Other

An Adventure Like No Other!

Pictured above, children within the L.A.C.E.S. Refugee Program pose for a group photo

The most vulnerable in the world…

Around the world, more than 70 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes according to a recent report published by the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Among them are nearly 25.9 million refugees, over half of whom are children. These children are often forced to face severe trauma and burdensome pressures during their resettlement process. Additionally, these vulnerable kids endure intense scrutiny at the hands of ignorance and stigma. In the United States, polarizing opinions regarding immigration policies create controversy and uninformed biases against refugees and their families. This in turn has inevitably created a culture that at times does not welcome those in serious need.

For many of the children enrolled in the L.A.C.E.S. program, their earliest days were spent in some of the world’s most volatile nations. Most of them, by no choice of their own, were forced to pack up everything they knew and leave their homes, possibly forever. At L.A.C.E.S., we have the privilege of serving boys and girls from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and more. The children in our program are bright, kind, happy, funny, and are working hard to acclimate to their new home in the United States. One of the many ways that we at L.A.C.E.S. choose to help in this process is by hosting our annual Refugee Youth Adventure Camp. This particular camp is a major summer highlight for our kids and this year’s was possibly the best one ever!

 

Pictured above, Khadija from Afghanistan shows off her skills at the trampoline park during L.A.C.E.S. Refugee Youth Adventure Camp

The answer became obvious…

When L.A.C.E.S. first began in 2007, our work and programming efforts were exclusively focused in Liberia, West Africa. After years of developing our curriculum, having our impact proven through extensive research, and seeing the incredible difference being made along the way, it was evident that we had to expand and begin helping more youth around the world. Where we should expand to however, was not as evident. We considered East Africa along with some neighboring countries of Liberia first, but upon closer evaluation, the answer became obvious.

“We finally started to look in our own back yard,” said Seren Fryatt, founder of L.A.C.E.S. “We found that refugee youth had very little services offered to them apart from school and felt like this population of kids could really benefit from our program. Implementing our work stateside became the next logical step.” This new endeavor to take our tried and proven work in Liberia and implement it in the United States officially launched in the summer of 2016. Through soccer leagues, home visits, and exciting initiatives like our Refugee Youth Adventure Camp, we have just entered into our fourth year working with refugee children and have cherished every second of it.

 

 

Pictured above, brothers Eli and Ernest from the DRC take a quick picture break before rock climbing

Our Best Yet!

Throughout this past week’s camp, children from all different nationalities and backgrounds were able to come together and bond through adventure themed activities. Khadija from Afghanistan got to show off her athletic ability at the trampoline park. Edwine from the DRC faced her fear of heights and went rock climbing. Laura from Iraq proved to herself and everyone around her that she could conquer the highest rope course we put in front of her. With the help of several volunteers and hardworking staff members, this year’s adventure camp was one of the most successful we’ve had to date. It was a fantastic few days for our organization and was so much more significant than just fun and games.

Pictured above, Edwine from the DRC excels while climbing trees at the ropes course during Adventure Camp

Pictured above, Ernest from the DRC takes a quick water break after bike riding on the final day of L.A.C.E.S. Adventure Camp

 

A community to belong to…

At L.A.C.E.S., at-risk children from all over the world are able to come and know that they matter. Along with constructive outlets for their free time and new experiences otherwise not possible, the refugee youth within the L.A.C.E.S. program are given a community they can belong to, mentors they can look up to, and memories that will last for the rest of their lives. The years that surround resettling to the United States are some of the most difficult that many people can go through. We find so much joy and fulfillment being able to make this process a bit easier for our refugee children.

 

Pictured above, a refugee child from Afghanistan poses for a quick photo at the trampoline park during Adventure Camp

You can help…

The work that we at L.A.C.E.S. are able to do day in and day out would not be possible without the generosity of our faithful donors and volunteers. We believe to our core that in order to make a real difference in the world, a collective effort must be made from everyone able to help. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering your time and talents, you can apply to serve with us here! We also are excited to partner with our faithful donors to continue sustaining and growing our programming around the world. If you would like to donate to the world changing work of L.A.C.E.S., you can give a one-time donation or become a monthly giver by visiting here, today!

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