2018 has been an incredible year – thank you for all your support!
This weekend, Something New volunteers helped organize the Amani Women’s Center sewing room. Dozens of women in the Clarkston community attend sewing classes twice a week, in order to find ways to help provide for their families. Read more here!
Contributed by Maddie, one of our New Expression volunteers
At New Expression Clarkston, we like to give the kids a chance to do whatever activities they think best expresses who they are. For me personally, art is a way I express myself, so I’ll work with a lot of the young girls who like art too!
In art club is has been so amazing to experience new things to and be with the kids. We’ve been doing a lot of field trips lately. I have taken girls in the community to different places like the library, nature parks and playgrounds. It has been amazing to see them each weekend jump into the car so excited for the new adventure.
As we’ve been adventuring out of our normal meeting space, we have also met new people in the community. One of my favorite memories recently is when we went to one of the Dekalb libraries and taught the girls how to knit and make bracelets. Different kids would come through and just sit down and participate with us. The girls would help each other and encourage each other in making scarves, hats and bracelets. Everybody felt so welcome to talk and jump right in!
We have loved taking art club out to the community!
In a time when our nation’s highest administration is working to build barriers to keep refugees out of the country, Something New is committed to building community with our neighbors in Clarkston, GA. Clarkston is an example of a community where new neighbors and long-time residents are embracing the challenges that come with building a strong community. It is a place where many cultures and languages collide and where people are discovering the strength in diversity. It is a place where bridges are working better than walls. Clarkston is worth exploring and a powerful place to learn more about refugee resettlement and get involved, now is the time!
With its high population of recently resettled refugees, Clarkston, GA is a vibrant community—rich in diverse experiences, cultures, and by extension—food! Located just a few miles from downtown Atlanta, Clarkston is a small town that takes you on a trip around the world in just a few blocks.
The residents of Clarkston are from all over — Burma, Bhutan, Cuba, Somalia, the Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Refugees from these countries bring with them their own ways of life, as well as the incredible and difficult circumstances they have endured on their journey to rebuilding their lives.
About 85% of local businesses are owned by people who came to Clarkston as refugees. Students attend schools where 60 languages are spoken and adults often work multiple minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. As people work to rebuild their lives, about 40% live below the poverty line and many adults are not able to work in the same careers they had in their home countries.
Each refugee has a story of war, separation, violence and hardship and they also share a common drive to build a safe, secure, and brighter future for their children and new community. The daily demonstration of sacrifice and the warm hospitality felt among new neighbors makes Clarkston a unique and powerful place for an alternative break.
We were recently featured in the City of Clarkston Connection (April 2017) Here is what they had to say about our Alternative Break program and students: Clarkston Connection
For many students who came to Clarkston for spring break, this was first service learning trip with Something New. Abby, from University of Wisconsin Eau Claire had an amazing trip. Here’s what she had to say:
“I truly believe that the experiences you least expect are the experiences that change your life the most. For me, the Alternative Spring Break Trip to Clarkston was just that; unexpected and life altering. I remember attending an informational meeting about the trip, and not understanding why no one could explain what the trip was like for them. It took me personally being in Clarkson to understand the perplexity of emotions and thoughts that go through your mind when trying to describe what your spring break was like. Not only was it inspiring and emotional, but uplifting. For the first time in my life, I felt at home. I was surrounded by people I knew who cared for me, and had my best interest in mind. To be in place of complete honesty, vulnerability, and love is not an environment that is common. The volunteers at Something New are the reason why I experienced many of these emotions, and experiences. The Something New volunteers are a special group of dedicated, devoted, and loving crew who were welcoming from day one.
In my efforts for others to experience the dedication of the Something New Organization, I do my best to share my ASB trip experience with those who have little knowledge of the trip itself. I hope to inspire others to take action, join the Alternative Spring Break trip next year, and to create positive encourage for others out there to continue supporting the wonderful Something New Organization.”