My experience as a NSLI-Y scholar in Rabat, Morocco, last summer was a turning point in my life. Apart from learning Arabic and enjoying the Moroccan culture, I met amazing people, from fellow American scholars to local Moroccans. One thing I did not anticipate was that I would become so passionate about helping refugees in my community.

Influenced by other NSLI-Y students who had helped refugees in the U.S., and prompted to action by the unfolding tragedy of the Syrian refugees, I was set to use my Arabic skills to connect with refugees. At first, I reached out to organizations in my hometown of Cincinnati offering them help. But those organizations either ignored my emails, or responded by saying that I was too young. Undaunted, I started a club at my high school that I named Students Together Assisting Refugees (STAR). The club is dedicated to aiding refugees and spreading awareness of the crisis. I was amazed that once I had an official club behind me, people paid attention to me and responded enthusiastically to my emails. Everyone wanted to help us as best they could.

In the few months that STAR has been in existence, we have accomplished a lot, and now we want to use STAR to help more high school students help refugees.

Why I Started STAR