• Girls’ Studio uplifts and inspires young women in Akron community.

    By Cassidy Gladieux Once a week, girls from the Jennings Community Learning Center school in Akron race to Gum Dip Theatre in North Hill to participate in Girls’ Studio, an after-school theater program.  The Girls’ Studio, for ages 11-14, originally began in 2017 when Katie Beck worked with South Street Ministries, who had their own […]

    Girls’ Studio uplifts and inspires young women in Akron community.

  • ‘Why do you think we are here today?’ Navigating a new life in Akron, Ohio 

    By Reegan Saunders Rain pours behind stained glass windows past their prime. I sit in a church basement. The lighting is dim, and the room is plain but clean. There are a few round tables and a small screen with a projector.  The room is quiet until people begin to file in. Many of them […]

  • How resettled students learn English in the Akron Public Schools 

    by Megan McSweeney Loi Dang-Nguyen is the English as a second language and foreign language learning specialist in the Akron Public Schools. For her, the job is personal. Coming from Vietnam in the ‘70s, she and her family were some of the first refugees to be resettled in Akron.  “My goal is to make sure […]

  • A history of immigration in Akron

  • Addressing mental health challenges refugee children face

    By Brianna Canada Refugee children not only help to shape their community by helping their parents adapt to American culture, but they also educate non-refugee children and teens about refugee cultures and countries.  School, friends, and being social can be stressful on any child. Refugee children experience a unique set of circumstances that add to […]

  • Following the money trail from Washington, D.C. to Akron

    By Trista Bowser and London Green Twenty-four thousand refugees have relocated in Ohio over the past decade, more than all but seven other states. Nonprofit organizations use federal and privately donated funds to resettle refugees. State Refugee Coordinator Jennifer Johnson oversees all the different aspects of refugee resettlement, from how many refugees Ohio receives every […]

  • ‘This makes a difference in your life’

    By Morgan McGrath Chelsae Poelking has been teaching English as a second language for the past two years, and every Tuesday night, she can be found in an Akron Crossings classroom, laughing with students as they collectively crack some jokes.  “God made all people valuable,” she said. “Everyone is valuable in his eyes, no matter […]

  • Why one volunteer loves teaching English as a Second Language

    By Morgan McGrath Jake George, one of the many volunteers at Akron Crossings, has graying hair, and a welcoming smile.  George, an Indian-American who has been living in the United States for “many” years, as he puts it, spends every Tuesday and Thursday teaching English as a second language, or ESL, to refugees from around […]

  • Overcoming barriers at Akron Crossings

    By Morgan McGrath Akron Crossings is in North Hill, tucked among a long stretch of residential areas. Bena Paisley is the founder of this non-profit, community-centric organization, and her central goal is to help refugees adjust to the United States through the guidance of Christianity.  “I encourage them [refugees] to be patient with themselves, and […]

  • Home, job, transportation-and mindfulness

    By Morgan McGrath “Do yourself a favor and do others a favor by being your best self,” said Edlyn McGarity Edlyn McGarity, a “Mindfulness Coach,” Ted Talk speaker, author, actress, and employee at Akron’s International Welcome Center. Photo courtesy of Edlyn McGarity.   A world traveler and Indian immigrant, McGarity is currently employed as the […]