Students in section 52 of BYU’s Writing 150 class worked with an organization called Hearts Knit Together to collect donations for refugees as part of BYUSA Care Week. Hearts Knit Together is a non-profit organization that uses donated items to create welcome kits for refugees with basic items that they lack when they first come to America.
The Writing 150 students collected donations of hygiene items including toothpaste, shampoo, towels and combs. Donations also included notebooks, toys and games for refugee children. The students aimed to raise awareness about the 1,100 refugees who come to Utah every year.
Emily Dyer is the Writing 150 instructor for section 52. She had previously volunteered with Hearts Knit Together, and saw an opportunity for her students to spread awareness about refugees and help with this issue.
“The main goal of this class is to become a better writer,” Dyer said. “But why not become a better writer while creating awareness for people who need understanding and compassion?”
Dyer explained the bleak living conditions of refugees.
“A majority of the world’s refugees have not been relocated to another country,” Dyer said. “They are still in camps where education is not a priority, and they sometimes wait all day for food.”
The Writing 150 instructor said the donated items would be part of welcome kits for refugees who have been lacking basic resources. She said it was critical for the BYU community to know they could make a difference in helping refugees.
“It’s important for students to realize that they can get involved at a local level,” Dyer said. “These tiny donations can help a refugee feel connected to their new community.”
Lauren Hatch, a student in section 52, said she recognized the importance of raising awareness and collecting donations for refugees.
“I think involving students in the process of gathering needed items for refugees is great because it is a demonstration of Christlike service,” Hatch said.
The class also writes to raise awareness for the #RefugeesRising campaign. This campaign was created by Salt Lake City’s Refugee and Immigrant Center, which offers resources and services to refugees.
Students can help refugees by donating online to the Refugee & Immigrant Center.