BYU refugee program is dedicated to creating lifelong service-oriented individuals


Students are providing blankets and supplies to refugees in need through Y-Serve’s refugee program, working with the non-profit organization “Stitching Hearts Worldwide.”

Right now, the program meets every other Wednesday at 7 p.m. to help create quilts, banners and supplies for refugees.

Krysti-Ann Wright founded SHW in 2017, just six months after she created a separate nonprofit, and combined the two to help refugees around the world.

“Watching the students and how much they enjoy serving, I realized it’s not about what items they’re making or who is receiving it, but that they go home feeling like ‘I’ve done something important today,'” Wright said.

The refugee program and SHW have helped provide blankets, banners, backpacks, teddy bears and other supplies to Somalia, Lebanon, Jordan, Bangladesh and Guatemala in partnership with the non-profit organizations Helping Hands and Lifting Hands International.

“Everything that we can make useful for refugees around the world we help to provide means so that they can, in small ways, help them in their way back,” Israel Davila Alenan, Executive Director of the refugee program said.

According to Alenan, the refugee program has had a profound impact on the students, who are helping the program grow into what it is today.

“The reward of having a meaningful experience of service is priceless,” Alenan said.

After starting SHW, Wright quickly joined BYU’s Y-Serve and realized how important the organization was for both students and recipients.

Creating an environment that focused on the benefits of service was a critical part of Wright’s approach to starting SHW and working with BYU students.

“I wanted to make sure that whatever they were doing for SHW was meaningful and make a difference in somebody’s life,” Wright said.

As the refugee program and SHW continue to grow in partnership with one another, Alenan and Wright hope to create lifelong service-oriented individuals.

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