World Refugee Day 2020: Meeting refugee family expands Libby Eaton’s life, brings love
June 2020 · 2020 World Refugee Day, Migration Ministries, Ministry News
Libby Eaton volunteers her time with refugees, and to celebrate World Refugee Day, she sent us a bunch of wonderful photos. So we asked her to elaborate on why she volunteers and is drawn to supporting refugee families. Here’s her answer:
For several years, I volunteered at Park and Washington Elementaries through a program at First United Methodist. During that time, I learned about the lives of many immigrant and refugee families.
After my retirement in 2017, I wanted to continue working with refugees and learn more about their plight. Through my friend, Forrest Ehmke, I trained to volunteer for Saint Francis Migration Ministries and helped prepare a home for a family coming from Africa where they had been in a refugee camp for many years.
It was such a thrill to meet our family at the airport in August 2018, parents and 7 children. I helped the children test for placement in public schools, took the children and mother to enroll the children, obtained school supplies and necessary uniforms, and set up communication with their teachers including transporting the mother to conferences. I helped arrange their bus schedules and took them to Healthcore to get required immunizations.
As the first year passed, I spent many hours helping the mother with her English. Forrest and I took the children to activities such as parks, the Zoo, Botanica, and WSU basketball games. I taught the children how to walk to a nearby site for summer lunches. A highlight was a big picnic for the family and their friends to celebrate their first year of being in the United States.
Being with “my family” has expanded and changed my life. I love them deeply and am eager for the day I can be back with them after our days of COVID 19 seclusion have passed.
Thank you, Libby, for being one of those people who make it brighter in the world.