A Nexus for Community

Hear below from Aaron Finkel, a long-time volunteer who launched our City Strings program and has recently taken over coordinating our English Buddy program:  The most meaningful thing I’ve seen is how City of Refuge creates a nexus for community to happen in so many different ways. Volunteers can meet each other and share experiences.

A Farewell of Sorts

I remember the first gift I made to City of Refuge. It was September 2018, and the organization’s building at the time needed to be outfitted. They shared an Amazon gift list in a social media post, and I bought them a set of window blinds. It was my first step forward–my first investment, modest

From Boyfriends to Childbirth

Our community, working together, truly makes Columbia a city of refuge. We see our organization as a catalyst for connecting people to people, a place where relationships can form, a place where friendships can flourish. Read below to see the impact our volunteers have in our refugee friends’ lives.  Mariea is one of our fabulous artisan volunteers;

Orchestrated Giving

Hear from Lori Stoll, Refugee Care Coordinator, who has been at City of Refuge since our beginnings and has had a heart for our refugee friends for as long as she can remember! Lori has been instrumental in paving the way for relationships to be such a critical component of our work each and every

Link Arms with Us

Joanie Nazary joined our team in June 2023 eager to help with the continued influx of Afghan newcomers. She quickly learned the ins and outs of being a Refugee Care Coordinator, working to meet the varying needs of the friends who came in each day. Check out what she has to say about generosity and

Radical Generosity

A few weeks back, I had just begun a tour of our building when I noticed a few of our staff carrying in cupcakes and gifts. They were with a woman who held a 6 month old baby in her arms. After a brief introduction, this woman proceeded to tell me (and our tour guests)

Face to Face

How do you know when you belong? When are you part of a group, rather than merely a face in the crowd? What does it mean to make personal connection? Sociologists give us data to teach us about the scope of our crisis as a lonely society. Psychologists explain how the technological devices we’ve adopted to connect with others end up separating us in unexpected ways. Pastors, at their best, share

Cruise Control

$430. That’s how much it would cost me to get to work each week if I had to take an Uber. That’s $22,360 annually. Add in $800/month (if I’m lucky) of rent and that puts me at a grand total of $31,960. I haven’t bought food yet. Or paid for utilities. Or health bills. Just


“I want our kids to be better prepared for school in America”. It was initially an alarming sentiment for me to hear, as we asked our refugee friends what was most important to them in a preschool. But, as the gentleman expounded, it made sense.  The children of first generation refugees are often living in

A Look Inside

When we opened City Boutique in November 2021, we had lofty dreams about what our Global Artisan Program could look like. We never anticipated how quickly it would take off, but we have been grateful for the opportunity to work with so many refugee women as they launch new careers, get paid their first paycheck, develop a new skill,