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Planting Thanks, Growing Hope

About a dozen children from around Greater Grand Rapids gathered at the Kent ISD Educational Services Center building to plant annuals in commemoration of World Refugee Day.

The children, who attend the West Michigan Refugee Education and Cultural Center’s after-school program, planted zinnias, marigolds, petunias and other annuals outside the building’s entrances.

Sumeya Yusuf, 12, from Somalia, plants flowers to commemorate World Refugee Day
Sumeya Yusuf, 12, from Somalia, plants flowers to commemorate World Refugee Day

They also took advantage of a patch of rarely-trodden lawn that was perfect for impromptu games of “duck duck goose” and “red light, green light.”

“This is also a way to thank our schools for all they do for our communities,” said Susan Kragt, the center’s executive director.

First marked in 2001, World Refugee Day is held every year on June 20 to recognize and honor the contributions of forcibly displaced people throughout the world, according to the office of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.

The annual commemoration is marked by a variety of events in more than 100 countries.

Photos by Sidney Arcidiacono

A rousing game of duck duck goose
A rousing game of duck duck goose

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio or email Morgan.

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