As the first volunteer for Refuge Coffee in Clarkston, Georgia – an area that hosts the most diverse square mile in the country and is home to over 60 native-spoken languages – Karen Guess brings together people from all walks of life over the universal language of coffee and tea. She moved to the area at the same time as Refuge Coffee founder Kitti Murray, who had a dream of creating just such a communal place.
In difficult times, we often look to humanitarian groups to support those in need. Since the onset of the refugee crisis, this has certainly been the case in Brazil – where the number of refugees has doubled each year since 2011. Atados, the winner of Points of Light’s 2017 George W. Romney Award, adapted its successful volunteer engagement model to respond to the global refugee crisis and provide aid to the people taking refuge in Brazil.
Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in March 2011, thousands of Syrian citizens have arrived on the shores of Greece in search of refuge. Today, more than 62,000 refugees still reside in Greece and roughly half of them are women and children, according to the International Rescue Committee. Volunteers from around the world are providing assistance – helping refugees arriving by boat make it safely to land, providing support at refugee camps and packing care packages with essential supplies.
From a young age, Mariela Shaker was a gifted violinist. At the age of 10, she joined the Arabic Institute of Music in Aleppo, Syria, graduating in 2004 with distinction. She then began traveling across Syria to perform in various festivals and concerts, eventually returning to the institute to teach music to a new generation of students.