Karma for Cara microgrants help fund exceptional service projects led by youth 18 years of age and under working to better their communities. Meet microgrant recipients, Grace and Chase, schoolmates who are both 16 years old. Over the summer, Grace and Chase were able to work at a refugee center and learn more about this overlooked population. Funding to support this particular center was unfortunately drastically reduced. The duo decided to found JaxTHRIVE (Teens Helping Refugees Integrate Via Engagement), a community initiative dedicated to educating and empowering young refugees in Jacksonville, FL. The structure of days their team is involved at the center includes tutoring in the morning, followed by lunch, and then a fun, educational activity in the afternoon.
- How many volunteers participated in your project? How many hours did it involve? We have over 50 teen volunteers who have participated in JaxTHRIVE on a rotating basis. This involves volunteering 5 hours on Saturdays. We have done 7 Saturdays so far with at least 12 volunteers which adds up to 420 hours to date.
- What did you learn from this experience? We learned that regardless of anyone’s culture or the traumatic experiences they have endured, when you break down their walls, all people have similar values, interests and goals within life. By getting to meet and understand the stories of the refugees we work with, we have learned to experience life in a more fulfilling way.
- How will your project continue having an impact in the future? We hope JaxTHRIVE will continue to be an ongoing nonprofit to serve the Jacksonville refugee community.
- Overall, summarize how your project was completed and how you think it went. JaxTHRIVE is an ongoing program throughout the school year. We are extremely pleased with the way JaxTHRIVE has been received and the impact we have seen in both the children’s’ academic and non-academic lives.
- How was the Karma for Cara microgrant helpful in the completion of your project? With the aid of the microgrant, we have been able to continue JaxTHRIVE for an extra month beyond our original projections. We continue to fundraise to grow this program.