October 7, 2001 marks the start of the Afghan war. For years, the constant threat of Afghanistan territory and urban areas leading to the devastating loss of control of the government. Home to about 39 million people, Afghanistan no longer provides a safe and nurturing home for those who depend on it. For the past 20 years, Afghan residents have looked to fleeing to the United States in hopes of gaining a better life.
Sacramento has shared a wide open welcome for the incoming Afghan refugees; as we provide homes, food, and other necessities to those in need. Sacramento has been recognized as one of the largest areas for Afghan immigrants. Mike Duffy, author for ABC News introduces Kerry Ham, the director of World Relief Sacramento. Ham has announced that the incoming Afghan refugees are in desperate need of everything a family “will need when moving to a new place, but their need is amplified” (Here’s How You Can Help Afghan Refugees In Sacramento). With this being said, Bella Vista high school’s AVID program has taken the initiative to take part in providing for Afghan families in our local area and schools.
Here at Bella Vista high school, a select group of AVID juniors and seniors set out to create an easy and accessible way to provide for the Afghan refugees coming to not only Bella Vista, but other schools and homes around us. The newly established club on campus came together to brainstorm ideas and ways of getting the entire school involved in welcoming our new guests. After several weeks of brainstorming, planning, campaigning, and budgeting, the Afghan refugee AVID club published a donation drive. This well thought out gesture encouraged students and staff on campus to donate home goods, perishables, toiletries, school supplies, and much more. Students and staff on campus are motivated to donate by receiving a stamp card in which they earn a select number of stamps depending on the determined value of each item they donate. Meeting every Friday at lunch in front of the cafeteria, the donation center has proven to be a success. Within the first week, the donation drive, and others like it, donated a generous amount of necessities; so much that Bella Vista’s donation drive was instructed to focus their efforts on toiletries.
The Afghan refugee AVID club has taken their support a step further. Provided at the donation table are welcome cards that people are highly encouraged to fill out, whether they are able to donate or not. These welcome cards are then sent to Afghan students new to schools in the Sacramento area. The club hopes to continue increasing the number of donations and warm welcomes through the next couple of weeks. Bella Vista has demonstrated the importance of community and awareness. AVID club has set a grand example for what services clubs can take part in, in the near future.
This large gesture can be taken even further outside of Bell Vista. Homes and families can assist by reaching out to several other donation centers to find out what other necessities are needed. Many of Sacramento’s local donation sites are keeping their focus on the Afghan refugees coming into the area; accepting more toiletries, school supplies, and even larger donations like regional transit passes, and other modes of transportation such as, bikes, roller skates, and even used vehicles. These same sites are also inviting home furniture. People can also make the grand gesture of opening their household to refugees until they are able to find a place of their own. As everyone is scrambling to discover their place in this new environment, making ourselves available is one of the best things we can do; something that is greatly demonstrated by the Bella Vista Afghan refugee donation center. Through the unfortunate events regarding the war in Afghanistan, Bella Vista high school has taken action to assist the community in a substantial way.