Central Catholic executive assistant Grace Laskowski and sophomore Eleanor Ramsey work on preparing a kitchen for a refugee family earlier this year. The high school’s Rams for Life club helped provide all the necessities for furnishing the home through a partnership with Catholic Charities Oregon. (Courtesy Central Catholic)
Central Catholic executive assistant Grace Laskowski and sophomore Eleanor Ramsey work on preparing a kitchen for a refugee family earlier this year. The high school’s Rams for Life club helped provide all the necessities for furnishing the home through a partnership with Catholic Charities Oregon. (Courtesy Central Catholic)
A group of 10 students and five adults from Central Catholic High School stream in and out of an apartment in Southeast Portland. The group is unloading a truck full of donated household items and moving them into an apartment for a family of six who is arriving that night from Eritrea, a country in East Africa.

Central Catholic’s Rams for Life club spearheaded this labor of love — to resettle a refugee family in Portland. The club’s mission is to celebrate and support human life, especially the most vulnerable in society. They hope to inspire in the Central Catholic community an even deeper sense of being made in God’s image.

At the beginning of the school year, the group focused many of their conversations on the refugee crisis around the world. Franciscan Sister Grace Marie Horan, a religion teacher, says the club saw a refugee simulation done at St. Ignatius Parish in Southeast Portland, which was featured in the Catholic Sentinel, and was inspired to act. Students worked with the Central Catholic administration to set up a refugee simulation on campus in the Weston Commons.

“The topic is close to home because some of our students experience the reality of being refugees or immigrants in their own background,” said Sister Grace Marie.

After the experience, the club decided to sponsor a refugee family through a partnership with Catholic Charities Oregon. Rams for Life was tasked with providing all the necessities for furnishing a home and got the school community involved.

“I feel that it is important to serve in any way you can, to care for others who would appreciate the help,” said senior Gavin Griswold. “There is a close spiritual connection I feel every time I dedicate time to serving, and this project gave me an opportunity to fulfill that.”

Rams for Life collected food, kitchen items, furniture, bedding, bathroom supplies and games for the children. Students, staff and members of Catholic Charities worked to unload all the materials and assemble them into a move-in-ready home for the family.

“It was a humbling experience putting together a home for a refugee family,” said Danyelle Ramsey, assistant principal at Central Catholic. “It helped me to recognize the ways that I can use my privilege for good in the world. I appreciated seeing our Central Catholic community work together to create a home that was not only functional, but also warm, welcoming and comfortable.”