“Not only is the JaxTHRIVE program providing a welcoming base of support for these local refugee children, we are inspiring other teens in our community to give back to society.”
A fateful day of volunteering for World Relief, a global humanitarian nonprofit, changed Grace Freedman’s life. It was there, during the summer of 2017, she witnessed, firsthand, the cultural, linguistic, and economic difficulties facing refugee children. On the way home she began dreaming up a way to help. She imagined an organization serving Jacksonville’s refugee population, the 6th largest in the country, matching newly arrived children with local students for one-on-one mentoring and tutoring. And so, JaxTHRIVE was born. Grace, along with her co-founder, have attracted volunteers from twelve different area schools, including the University of North Florida. To date, over 100 student volunteers have happily donated their Saturday mornings on a rotating basis, ensuring an easier transition for students who have come to this country under extraordinary circumstances. Together they’ve developed a formal tracking system that incentivizes academic performance and has produced demonstrable, measurable results.