Church buildings throughout the Blue Hill Peninsula are working to welcome refugee college students from throughout the globe and sponsor their training on the space’s native boarding college.
Seven church buildings on the peninsula and Deer Isle have teamed up with George Stevens Academy to lift cash that might be used to deliver three college students, seemingly one from Afghanistan and two from Ukraine, to the academy’s campus in Blue Hill for the upcoming time period.
The academy, which serves because the area’s native highschool, has a protracted historical past of worldwide boarding college students in its dorms, however that is the primary time there was a concerted effort to lift cash to deliver refugees to the varsity.
“That is actually one thing new for us,” mentioned Tim Seeley, the top of faculty on the academy.
The church buildings spearheaded the hassle, and the varsity has additionally began its personal fund to cowl the prices for refugees. The church buildings’ main objective is to muster up about $120,000 — sufficient to pay for room and board for 3 college students on the academy.
The concept started to percolate final fall. The academy’s dean of scholars has a reference to a pupil from Afghanistan from when she beforehand labored at a college in Utah, mentioned Prudy Heilner, a trustee on the academy’s board and a member of the St. Francis-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Blue Hill.
That pupil got here to Maine by way of Seeds of Peace, a program designed to domesticate the following era of world leaders in communities divided by battle. However their youthful brother was caught in Afghanistan because the Taliban took over final yr.
So the church group began to work out find out how to assist the brother get to America and research at GSA. The concept expanded as Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this yr.
“The true effort for this kind of work began with one pupil in thoughts,” Heilner mentioned. “However the objective is to have the ability to supply this to college students throughout Afghanistan, Ukraine and different locations.”
The Afghan pupil is predicted to make it to the U.S. subsequent week. Functions are within the works for 2 Ukrainian college students after connections had been made by a former GSA instructor who was serving to refugees in Poland.
Diana Web page, a former official on the U.S. State Division and a member of the First Congregational Church of Blue Hill, mentioned that a number of households wished to soak up refugees themselves, however there’s a hesitancy on the federal degree to position folks looking for asylum in such rural components of the nation.
However that adjustments when they are often in a boarding college surroundings, surrounded by different college students and employees.
“We could also be a rural space, however now we have some excellent academies that supply an ideal training,” Web page mentioned.
The church buildings plan to carry occasions to assist folks study in regards to the plight of refugees, in addition to concert events to lift cash for the sponsorships. The primary occasion is deliberate for July 30, with displays about refugees and performances by musicians, together with Noel “Paul” Stookey of the enduring people group Peter, Paul and Mary.