World Relief Chicagoland held their first in person Global Gala in 2 years this past weekend. Staff, volunteers, clients, and community members gathered to connect and hear stories of World Relief’s work as well as updates from Ukraine, personal stories from clients, and staff experiences from welcoming newly arriving refugees and immigrants.
Master of Ceremonies Daniel Yang (Director of the Send Institute) welcomed everyone and led attendees through the night that included dinner, speakers, and performances. There were amazing artist sharing their talent; the Ayodele Drum & Dance captivated guests and also invited folks to dance with them. Ephraim Bugumba performed an original song and shared from his personal story and connection to this work of welcome, “war breaks multiple layers of a human being. I do not know where my family would be without organizations like World Relief.”
Susan Sperry, Executive Director of World Relief shared that World Relief wants to continue to build a “vibrant, welcoming community.” 84 million people are currently displaced in the world plus at least 4 million Ukrainian people that have been forced to flee since February. “All people are made in God’s image and worthy of welcome,” Sperry shared as she thanked everyone for supporting this work. Dan Peterson visited an arrival center for recently arrived refugees from Afghanistan and shared insights about the impact of him personally and also described some the work of welcome for this community. Liza Khalil, a World Relief staff and immigrant from Ukraine shared stories of the current impact of the invasion on Ukrainians. “There are currently 10 million internally displaced people and an addition 4 million outside Ukraine that have fled.” Daniel Yang led everyone in praying after she shared her very personal testimony. Ali AlQaisi arrived from Iraq and shared his journey of understanding life in America with his family. As he shared how he has thrived and won awards in his field his wife videoed and teared up. He now helps welcome others as a volunteer through World Relief. The night ended with Pastor John LaTorre from partner church Park Albany Park reflecting and asking attendees to continue to support this important work in standing for welcome.
World Relief continues to stand for and equip others in our community to welcome refugees and immigrants and allow them to create lives here in the Chicagoland area. I am grateful to be a part of this work as a volunteer and storyteller. Learn more about their work and join us in creating “a vibrant, welcoming community.”
A visual storyteller that focuses on human emotion & connection. I help families, individuals, & couples to share their beautiful messy story.
I also partner with humanitarian, non-for-profit organizations, and NGOs share their stories with intention, dignity, & excellence, so they can have a greater impact on their communities.