Student Seminar Class Assembles 200 Bags for FORAI

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Jen Owens visits freshman seminar, The Art of the Shoe. 

A Webster University freshman seminar class was visited by Jen Owens, executive director of FORAI (Friends Of Refugees And Immigrants), where she discussed the organization she helped build. FORAI currently employs about a dozen refugee and immigrant women in St. Louis. Ownes shared stories from some of these women with the class.

As a service project and in honor of Webster Works Worldwide, students during the Oct. 3 visit assembled 200 shopping bags to be used for products sold at upcoming craft shows. 

"Hearing about FORAI and how Jen got started was especially appropriate for this seminar because we have been reading 'Start Something that Matters,' also known as the TOMS shoes story," said Julie Griffey, associate professor and program coordinator for Interactive Digital Media in the School of Communications. "The book encourages young people to pursue their passions and do something meaningful. Jen was a great example of someone who had started something that mattered and is having positive impact on our community."

FORAI (Friends Of Refugees And Immigrants) is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded on fair trade principles that supports refugee and immigrant women as they begin home-based micro-businesses to supplement their incomes through the production of high quality, marketable jewelry and accessories.

About Webster Works Worldwide

Annually, Webster University sponsors a campus-wide community service day in partnership with local agencies and nonprofit organizations. Students, faculty, staff and alumni work in teams on projects including tutoring, painting, gardening, working with children or seniors, park and trail restoration, and fine arts projects.

Since the start of Webster Works Worldwide in 1995, over 32,000 volunteers have given more than 141,000 hours of service.

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