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Opportunity for Community Engagement and Professional Experience

As part of the special topics course “Refugee Crisis: A Multi-Disciplinary Policy Perspective on European Refugee Crisis”, students from The College of New Jersey, along with their professor Dr. Karen Becker have created a new organization called “The College of New Jersey Kids at Play” (TCNJ K.A.P.S).

The students volunteer at the “Counselling Center for refugees of Diakonisches Werk Heidelberg and Caritasverband Heidelberg e.V.” at Patrick-Henry-Village three days a week from 8 a.m. to noon. Patrick Henry-Village is a refugee center housing asylum seekers from North Africa, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bangladesh, and many other countries. Our students travel an hour each way, and their commute begins by tram, followed by bus and ends with a 20-minute walk to the Patrick Henry Village. There, they play games with the children and teach them basic language and mathematics skills. This is basically the only source of education, entertainment and structure that these children receive by that time.


Working with the children at the Patrick Henry-Village has opened my eyes to the real issues in life. […]
Together, we created a pilot program that will continue to the next semester aiding and supporting the children at the refugee center. I am proud of the difference we have made and the relationships we have gained at the refugee center. (Brian Sutera, Fall 2016 – read his blog)


The academic course

By volunteering at the German refugee center, students explore cultural issues in the migrant crisis and attend an international symposium to present their ideas on how Europe can address immigration. The special topics course “Refugee Crises: A Multi-Disciplinary Policy Perspective on European Refugee Crisis” is designed to assist students in thinking profoundly about their own cultural uniqueness and focuses on how we can collectively and independently manage the greater than 60 million refugees across the world.

During their time at the refugee center, students take ownership of the project with roles responsible for:

  • Project management
  • Fund-raising
  • Lesson plans and instruction
  • Social Media and PR
  • Supplies and Donations
  • Event Planning

Press and media

Rhein Neckar Zeitung - Fremde helfen FremdenRhein-Neckar-Zeitung
June 2017
Fremde helfen Fremde (in German)

The Signal
November 2016
Students abroad volunteer at refugee camp


Our students reached into their hearts for children from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Kurds in Turkey, and North Africa.

Heidelberg European Study Center news

from Dr. Susan Hume, Fall 2019 TCNJ Visiting Professor

Support and resources

Our community engagement project is also supported by CEPA Foundation, not only monetary but also by providing the platform to accept donations for this project.

Please consider supporting a wonderful project by our students! We are so proud of the work they are doing! They need money in order to purchase crayons, paper, pencils, activities, etc. for the kids.

Go to the CEPA Foundation website to make a donation

100% of your donation will go toward the project and as a non-profit, your donation is tax-deductible.

  • Students organized a fundraising committee to utilize crowdfunding
  • The College of New Jersey and the European Study Center pledged transportation funds

The project is a current candidate for the 2017 Jugenddiakoniepreis, an award for youth in Germany initiating projects for social change.


Pictures courtesy of Melissa Lee and Brian Sutera