The three La Crosse Colleges have partnered with Great Rivers United Way to secure donations of school supplies to help Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy.
The training called Operation Allies Welcome, as UW-La Crosse, Viterbo and Western Technical College seek to help.
“These are the supplies parents would normally be asked to provide for their children,” said UW-La Crosse professor Heather Linville. “But, of course, the kids at Fort McCoy, the parents don’t have access to these supplies.”
About 2,000 Afghans of various ages study in schools based on the base between Tomah and Sparta. About 7,500 refugees are stationed there – the second largest population on a base in the United States
Sister Laura Nettles from the University of Viterbo volunteers to help some students. She told reporters on Wednesday about a student she recently saw there.
“He proudly showed his notebook and he showed a pencil – like just a little pencil, he had used it so much,” Nettles said. “And he said,” I’m a real American student. “”
However, it is not just notebooks and pencils in short supply. Rebecca Hopkins, of Western Technical College, said the Afghan teachers who ran McCoy’s classes were being relocated.
“Many of these Afghan teachers who have come together to serve their community are going to move,” she said. “It’s exciting for them, but it leaves a great need in the classrooms. Hopkins hopes to see some teachers in the area devote time to the Afghan school.
If you would like to purchase supplies, you can check the ugetconnected.org website.