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At Walsh Jesuit High School, we worked to bring awareness of the plight of refugees through JRS’s Walk A Mile Simulation.

In the beginning of the experience, students were given identification cards that told them true story of a refugee, the students then entered into that refugees specific experience for the class period. Different stations were set up in our gym to demonstrate to students what an average refugee receives during their time in a refugee camp.

The shelter station allowed students to walk into the living space of a refugee family of four and experience for a moment the cramped tent.

The water station demonstrated the little water a refugee is provided and the distance they must walk to retrieve the water. A food station compared meals between a lunch common to refugees and a lunch common to Walsh Jesuit students.

The education station displayed the struggle refugees face in finding teachers and resources while in refugee camps.

The simulation concluded with advocacy and action steps so that when students left the gym, the simulation experience moved beyond the walls of our school.

We plan on hosting another camp simulation at our school this year. We found it to be a moving experience for our community and recommend the simulation to other Jesuit schools to raise awareness of the refugee crisis.

Members of our JRS Action Team gave their responses on the experience.

One station that particularly impacted me was the water station because I’ve grown so accustomed to always having fresh water at my fingertips, so seeing how many refugees and migrants walk miles to get drinking water deeply shook me. The camp simulation overall opened my eyes to the conditions of refugees. To some extent, I recognized that refugees had a difficult situation in refugee camps, but the camp created an element of awareness I never had before. The simulation proves to be one of my favorite events at Walsh Jesuit because it opens students’ minds to the reality that people around the world experience.” Junior Natalie Chase

 

during the whole camp simulation I was constantly learning new information on refugees that I never was informed about before the experience with the JRS Walk A Mile camp simulation. I think the station that impacted me the most was learning about the refugees living situations. Having the resources to know how they are living only made me want to help people even more and do as much as I could to help make a difference for their lives. Each simulation not only informed me about the issues going on with refugees but it impacted me and how I wanted to help the people who may not have the opportunities that people tend to take for granted. I never realized how blessed I was to have running water until this simulation opened up my eyes a little more. This is an experience that I will forever be grateful for having and I will continue to learn more about these issues and how I can help just through my everyday life.” Senior Brianna Murray 

 

The JRS Camp Simulation straddled the gray area between energizing and sobering.  As a teacher, it made me proud of my many students who walked left the Simulation with quietly wide eyes.  In Ignatian Pedagogy, the value of “Experience” is tantamount, and this Simulation provided a lasting experience.  Even if I were an expert teacher, I would never be able to give a lesson or unit that would better form the students to receive an alternate perspective than their participation in the Camp Simulation did for them.” JRS Action Team faculty moderator, Mr. Adam Green.