The students were first introduced to the people of Columbus Junction through a Global Issues class last year. They volunteered at a monthly clinic sponsored by Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) at the United Methodist Church. The clinic provides legal services to help people navigate the complicated immigration laws of the United States.
Dr. Joy Lapp, Associate Professor of Religion, wanted her students to learn more about immigrants living in Iowa. Columbus Junction is home to both Hispanic and Burmese immigrants. Students were able to “connect on a personal level to the stories and struggles of these immigrants who are building a new life for themselves in the United States.”
Although the students had completed their class work in the spring, they expressed interest in volunteering last fall with a new after-school program at the church. As a result, seven to nine Iowa Wesleyan students made weekly trips to work with the children of Columbus Junction.
Both Iowa Wesleyan University and Justice for Our Neighbors are supported in part with apportionment gifts from the United Methodist churches of Iowa.