Refugee and Asylum Families


In February 2020 Portage Chapel Hill Church, along with Bethany Christian Services, sponsored a family of six to settle in the Kalamazoo area after years of living in refugee camps in Iran, Afghanistan, and Turkey.

Here is a quick update on how they’re doing:

  • The eldest son continues to take classes at KVCC in auto mechanics and has a job doing car repairs.
  • The younger son has moved to Boston. He’s living with a friend and working in a restaurant.
  • The eldest daughter is working full-time in a factory that makes parts for car dashboards. She continues taking classes at Kalamazoo Covenant Academy in order to finish getting a high school diploma.
  • In addition to their studies at Milwood Middle School the twin girls are being tutored an hour each day by a dedicated group of people from Chapel Hill Church. They learn everyday living vocabulary, comprehension, and are encouraged to ask questions. Their tutors find them to be charming children and hard workers.
  • Mom and Grandma have both had their  vaccine shots.  Mom keeps busy by sewing clothes for herself and her family. Grandma likes to sit on the front porch while she connects with her friends in Europe and Afghanistan by phone. 

There is always need for folks willing to help tutor the kids or drive family members to appointments. Or if you would like to donate money to Chapel Hill's Refugee Resettlement Fund, the Refugee Resettlement Team will use those funds to help cover expenses and to address other needs as they arise. Please visit, click on the GIVE button, and find "Refugee Resettlement" under the Faith In Action section to donate. 

If you have any questions, or would like to volunteer to help the family, please contact:

Susan Smith, Co-Leader of Refugee Resettlement Team:

Pat Catellier, Co-Leader of Refugee Resettlement Team:

Richard Derenne, Chair of Faith In Action Team: