06252018 Headline:

New IRC club more relevant now than ever

RAHS’ International Rescue Committee club hopes to highlight diversity

By Payton Madson

Club member Sydney Brusnighan points to the red pin that she placed on the Celebrating Diversity Map.

Club member Sydney Brusnighan points to the red pin that she placed on the Celebrating Diversity Map.

International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a new RAHS Thursday club being held in physics teacher and the club advisor Robert Steele’s room.


The IRC’s official mission is to help people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. In the United States, that means helping refugees and other immigrants assimilate to their neighborhoods. Club member and sophomore Sydney Brusnighan explains how this goal relates to the RAHS community.


“IRC’s mission is to make a difference in the community and help families’ transitions into the US easier,” said Brusnighan. “This is especially important with Trump’s recent executive order banning immigration.”

The goal of RAHS’ IRC club is extremely comparable to the larger organization’s goal, though they are not affiliated. Both the school club and the organization hope to help immigrants and refugees work their way into their communities.


“IRC works with government bodies, civil society actors, and local volunteers, to help them translate their past experiences into assets that are valuable to their new communities.” according the IRC website.


In order to achieve their mission, the IRC at RAHS is hoping to volunteer with immigrants in the community around the school. In addition to volunteering, they are also trying to highlight the different ethnicities within the school, including that of students, teachers, and visitors.


“Our club hopes to join in some volunteer opportunities soon, in Seattle,” said Brusnighan. “Our first project so far has been putting a world map across from Mr. Steele’s room for students to add pins where they are from. We think this is a great way to embrace our cultures.”


The students in IRC and Steele are working towards their goal of supporting those who come from different ethnic backgrounds.


“[The goal of IRC] is to support either immigrant students, or their parents are immigrants. It’s to support them and have a place where they can go and talk and feel comfortable,” said Steele. “That’s really what it’s about.”


In addition to helping students, the club also hopes to help immigrants and refugees in the greater Seattle area through helping with the larger organization. The IRC organization’s goal is to help immigrants and refugees all over the world, not just in the Seattle area or in the United States.


“It’s also to support other immigrants in the greater area,” said Steele. “We are just a club but the International Rescue Committee does stuff all over the country and all over the world in support of not just immigrants but refugees.”


The IRC is hoping to have a more direct effect on the greater community by providing goods for families in need, they also hope to hold an event in order to fundraise.


“We’re trying to do some things to fundraise because there is a lot of things we can buy to help families,” said sophomore Chelsea Ho. “We wanted to do a movie night or something to fundraise.”


In order to show their support for the immigrant families in the school, the IRC is putting up a world map that they hope will illustrate the many backgrounds of RAHS students.
“We decided we’d make a map and we decided that we were going to try to get students to come down and put a pin where they’re from or where their family is from,” said Steele. “We can then take a look at it and you can then see the diversity of population we have in the school.”

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