About F.O.R.

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Our Vision

Refugees Experiencing Abundant Life in Flourishing Communities 

Our Mission

To empower refugees through opportunities that provide for their well-being, education and employment

Our Core Values

Relationship. We believe that none can attain an abundant, thriving life alone.  To effectively accomplish our mission, we strive to relate well not only to those we serve, but also those with whom we serve.   We partner with churches, donors, funders, volunteers, businesses, development organizations, and fellow community members to leverage our relationships in impacting the lives of refugees.

Empowerment. Working with the vulnerable carries the risk of creating dependency.  FOR prioritizes initiatives which offer a path to greater self-sufficiency. We create opportunities for accountable, supportive and effective decision-making.  We provide environments where people are free to contribute not only to their own well-being, but also to the well-being of their families, neighbors and communities.

Stewardship. FOR believes that maximum influence and benefit for refugees towards its mission are the products of excellence in programs, continual improvement by staff and partners, and delivery of unparalleled value in the way we manage all of our resources. Good Stewardship of resources is a distinct hallmark of all FOR’s programs.

Special thanks to John Purcell of Transform http://www.transform-coach.com/ for coaching our organization towards clarity of mission and effectiveness. You can seek John’s expertise for your company, organization, or ministry by contacting him at (678) 910-2705 or john@transform-coach.com.

History of Friends of Refugees

Every year, thousands of refugees come to the United States seeking a better life. In the early 1990′s, the process of resettling refugees began in the community of Clarkston, GA, a small town located within metro Atlanta. Since this process began, approximately 60,000 refugees have been resettled in this area. With over 150 different ethnic groups represented within and around the city, Clarkston has been named “the most diverse square mile in America” by the New York Times.

As refugees started being resettled in Clarkston, the need for more human support service organizations became apparent. Friends of Refugees (FOR) was founded for this purpose by Pat Maddox. Pat grew up in Clarkston when many of the streets were still dirt and when the pharmacy and grocery store were owned by family friends. She left Clarkston to attend nursing school where she later got married and resided in Florida.

In December of 1995, Pat relocated back to Clarkston. One morning as she was attending church, she came upon an ad in a newsletter asking for volunteers to help meet the needs of a couple of newly arrived Bosnian refugee families. Pat’s connection with these families made a lasting impression on her heart that has helped drive the humanitarian efforts of FOR for the past 11 years. This began her steps into the world of refugees.

In the summer of 1996, food and bread were offered to Pat for distribution. This began her efforts in food and clothing distribution. Many years later, Pat saw the need for a summer camp for refugee children and began a summer day camp in 2002. Shortly after this, Pat began doing after-school homework help with refugee children, which later developed into an after-school program.

In 2005, Friends of Refugees become an official non-profit organization. In 2008, Friends of Refugees hired its first Executive Director, Scott Kelley. Because of the work and dedication of Pat Maddox, Friends of Refugees continues to serve the needs of refugees through its workers, volunteers, and programs.

In FY2012  at Friends of Refugees, more than 20,000 volunteer hours served over 2,000 individuals across our program areas, including hundreds of job placements, 7,000 meals served in our kids’ summer camp, hundreds of moms and kids learning English together, dozens of babies born to healthy moms and over 70 family kitchen tables filled with fresh produce from their plots in our community garden! Come help us make 2013 even better in partnership with our community.