Helping Unaccompanied Refugee Youth
To App or Not to App, That Was the Question
Posted by Kaylee K on Tuesday, October 31, 2017
One of the objectives of our summer visits with ministries in Europe was to vet out the smartphone app that we had been hoping to develop with a goal of connecting unaccompanied youth with ministries that could help them along their travels. We achieved this, but with different results than we expected as we realized that this is not the timing for such an app.
Unfortunately, as many countries across Europe have closed their borders, movement between countries has dropped down to just a trickle in many areas. So, much of the work now must be focused on addressing the needs of those unaccompanied youth who continue to arrive on Italy’s shores and the other 200,000+ who are already somewhere across Europe. The good news is that the ministries we visited with are not having any challenges getting the word out about the services and programs they offer. Word of mouth it seems – whether directly or via What’sApp and Facebook – is still the best marketing tool around!
We are grateful for the time we had to explore this app project. It gave us the opportunity to build relationships with folks at Google that resulted in our connecting them with a friend in Parliament who helped them launch a jobs program. We also were invited into their London offices as consultants for the team that is working on that program as well as mentorships for unaccompanied youth. It also blessed us as we were introduced to the folks who developed the
Love Europe app
. We have met together several times and sense a synergy in our work. We will continue to meet with them to explore how God might lead us to work together to use technology to help refugee youth. We’ll keep you in the loop as that collaboration develops.
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John and Kaylee Kolditz
Kaylee founded Refugee Connect in 2008. John joined the work in 2011 as we investigated the refugee situation in Europe. But our faith and cross-cultural journeys have been a work-in-progress for many years. Much of this blog reflects that. ************************************************ We met in Austin, TX, while volunteering at a serving event at Gateway Church and have been married since 2002. Marriage, parenting and ministry all require a great deal of intentionality, humility and true reliance on God for strength, wisdom, and grace. It is a journey we are grateful to be on together. Ultimately, what matters to us is building into meaningful relationships in ways that, to the best of our ability and by God's grace, demonstrate the love and hope Jesus freely offers to us all. ************************************************ We bring both business and ministry backgrounds into our current work. John started a business in his 20's and helped build several other businesses. He has also served with churches in a variety of roles including as an assistant pastor, director of community development, and missions board member. Kaylee left her marketing career to become the global missions director for our home church in Austin, TX, then founded a local refugee ministry, and became TEFL certified (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) in order to prepare for our work overseas. We have led short-term teams domestically and internationally, and served with a variety of cross-cultural ministries. In 2008, we sensed a call to build into the church in Europe, which was also around the time when God broke Kaylee’s heart for refugees. Since then, God has continued to weave together this heart for refugees, desire to serve alongside the church, and focus on His call to Europe.
Refugee Stories (4)
Unaccompanied Refugee Youth (7)
unaccompanied refugee children