My name is Jackson Gzehoviak and I'm from Omaha, Nebraska. I started working in the refugee community my freshman year of high school; I've been a teacher, a mentor, an assistant case worker, an employment mentor, and a translator. Reading stories and hearing the ways in which systematic oppression has touched people's lives in profound ways has made me want to be a part of the healing process. I've been accepted as an educational coordinator at a refugee camp in Tyre, Lebanon, and will be working to empower refugee youth through English language learning. A refugee camp can be a terrifying place- after spending years in violent conflicts, a refugee camp is by no means a place of refuge- it is a transient camp built only to help people survive, not to thrive. Common are 'black days,' when the food runs out at the end of the month. Common are the times when families are split, when only some get to be sent to other countries. Left by fate to be perennially dehumanized, refugees and asylum seekers are among our world's most vulnerable populations. I've been a part of working in this community for 6 years now, and know without a doubt that I want to dedicate my life to the cause of empowering, through education and mental health, the lives of these beautiful people. I believe that this organization, LEAP (Learning for the Empowerment and Advancement of Palestinians), has the potential to launch my passion into action, to make my dreams of being a part of connective healing a reality. Please help me get to Lebanon this summer!
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