Holiday party for Dayton’s refugee and migrant community

(WDTN Photo / Dana Smith)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton police officers team up with a local church group to spread holiday cheer to Dayton’s refugee and migrant communities.

Wednesday was the annual holiday party for St John Church’s English as a Second Language School. An event where those who migrated to the Miami Valley and are learning English come together for a Christmas celebration.

Mohammad Monir Barkzai, came to the Miami Valley six months ago from Afghanistan.

“It’s kind of amazing for me. It’s my first time here in the states and it’s the first time we are celebrating the Christmas party, here,” he said.

“Since I’ve been here, I feel myself relaxed and safe.”

The school’s program coordinator Becky Williams said its an opportunity for people of all different backgrounds to celebrate the holiday and enjoy each other’s cultures

“I want St John’s ESOL program to be a place where everybody feels welcome and where everybody feels safe,” she said.

The event featured food from all over the world and ended with a gift exchange.

The Dayton Police Department bought hats, gloves, and mittens for the families to help them stay a little warmer this season.

“A friend of mine, he’s been here – and he’s an American citizen – and he been here almost like five years,” Barkzai said.

“He told me, the weather’s getting colder and colder. And he told me, Mohammad, get ready for the winter. The cold winter.”

Becky Williams says there are more than one hundred people from 65 different countries in the school.

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