World Refugee Day Celebrated in Clarkston!

 On Saturday, June 22, LSG came together with the refugee community in Clarkston to celebrate World Refugee Day. Under the bright afternoon sun, Clarkston residents and other supporters of the refugee community flocked to the activity fields next to the Clarkston Community Center to join millions around the world who were remembering the hardships that refugees face while also honoring their accomplishments. As a timely tribute to the success of many refugees in Clarkston, the celebration included a naturalization ceremony for some of America’s newest citizens: former refugees who have been living in the U.S. for several years.

Although the Clarkston community chose to celebrate World Refugee Day on Saturday, June 22, the official day of observance each year is June 20. On that day, people around the world and in the United States remember the millions of refugees who have to flee their homes. For around 70,000 refugees each year, the United States offers a safe haven and an opportunity to begin a new life. Around 2,500 of these refugees are resettled in Georgia, where nonprofit agencies such as Lutheran Services of Georgia work with local and state government organizations to help these new Americans become productive members of Georgia’s communities.

Representatives from many of these nonprofit agencies were present at the celebration in Clarkston to inform others of the work that they do with the refugee community. Melanie Johnson, Program Manager for Volunteer, Congregation, and Community Engagement was braving the heat and staffing an information table for LSG. Many other members of LSG’s Refugee Services were at the event, too, including Taryn Arbeiter and Gayle Cruz, who served delicious Nepali food to all and sundry.

If you missed out on the celebration this year, be sure to mark your calendars for next year. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn more about nonprofits serving the refugee community, taste food from around the world, and witness the resilience and success of many refugees in Clarkston!


URGENT: Advocacy Alert for Refugee Services

LSG provides a wide variety of direct services to both newly arrived and established refugee clients, supported by federal funding administered through Georgia's Department of Human Services (DHS). With this funding LSG specifically provides employment training and job placement as well as assistance in addressing medical concerns and home management support designed to help refugees achieve self-sufficiency as soon as possible.

The contract year for these services began on October 1. To our dismay, we have been informed by officials of Georgia's DHS that they are under no obligation to pay for any services related to these federally funded programs until the contracts are signed. This left us with no option but to suspend these services to our clients since we have no idea if or when the contracts will be signed.

Today, LSG laid off eight Refugee Services staff members and stopped employment training, job placement and social adjustment services to our refugee clients. The suspension, or possible loss, of this federal funding, already distributed and being held by the state, will be strongly felt not only by the refugee population but also by every Georgia resident.

The entire refugee services community hopes for prompt resolution of the barriers that stand between us and delivery of these critical services.  You can help relieve this situation by contacting DHS Commissioner Clyde Reese at 404-463-3390 or and Governor Nathan Deal at 404-656-1776 or click here. Ask them to sign the refugee services contracts and release the funding held by the state to provide these vital services to the refugee population. For suggestions on how to communicate your concerns, please click here.  And please forward this information to your network so that we can demonstrate that this issue has broad support from our community: friends, family, coworkers, congregation members, etc. Thank you for your support during this critical time.


Once you have contacted Governor Deal or Commissioner Reese, please let us know what response you receive, or if you have additional questions, by contacting J.D. McCrary, director of Refugee Services, at or 678-686-9643.

Free Vaccination Program Aims to Keep Refugee/Immigrant Populations Healthy

The Northlake Rotary Club's 7th Annual Immigrant Influenza Vaccination Project will provide free influenza vaccination's on October 8

The Northlake Rotary Club will host its 7th Annual Immigrant Influenza Vaccination Project in partnership with DeKalb Medical on Saturday, October 8, 2011 from 10:00 until 2:00 PM.  Targeted for persons aged 50 years and older, the program aims to increase vaccination rates in refugee/immigrant populations in the Clarkston community. We vaccinated 507 Clarkston Refugees last year and we hope to top that number this year.

Northlake Rotarians will plan, organize, and coordinate the free vaccination clinic in cooperation with the DeKalb Medical “Wellness on Wheels” program.  "Wellness on Wheels" is a mobile unit that moves from site to site providing health screening and specific medical services.  Professional personnel from DeKalb Medical will administer the vaccine.

The documents that must me signed prior to administering the flu shots will be collected in the Chapel, and the "Wellness on Wheels" RV will be located in the parking lot behind the Chapel at the Clarkston International Bible Church.

For questions you may contact McClellon Cox,  Project Chairperson, at 404-501-5149, Art Rosser Northlake's Public Relations Chairman at 770-605-8965 or Nat Nwizu Northlake Rotary Club President at 404-579-1594 .

Clarkston International Bible Church 3895 Church Street Clarkston, GA 30021