Samaritas to Celebrate World Refugee Awareness Day with Virtual Panel and Art Show

Refugee Roundtable on June 21 at 11:30 a.m.

DETROIT - Samaritas will celebrate refugees' positive economic and cultural impact on June 20, World Refugee Awareness Day.  April Baer of Michigan Radio’s “Stateside” show will lead a virtual discussion with former refugee and refugee experts on June 21 at 11:30 a.m.  

The Samaritas Refugee Roundtable will dive into what Ukrainian refugees are facing and how Wayne County and state of Michigan leaders are handling resettlement needs. The panel will feature Samaritas New Americans Director Mihaela Mitrofan’s firsthand account of what she experienced at the Ukrainian border a few weeks ago. Visit to register for this free event.

“Samaritas strongly believes we need to uphold America’s legacy of welcoming refugees. For 72 years, we’ve served refugee children and families, and we’ll continue to do so as long as there is a need,” said Kevin Van Den Bosch, COO, Samaritas. “Refugee Resettlement is a lifeline to so many vulnerable refugees at an unprecedented global crisis, but we can’t do it alone. Resources are stretched to their limits, and we can always use more staff, volunteers, and community partners to bolster our existing statewide programs.”

Samaritas will celebrate the creativity of the young refugees in its care with an online art show. The 2022 collection titled “Colorful Journeys /Viajes de Colores,” presented by Delta Dental of Michigan will be unveiled at on Monday, June 20.

The 2022 collection will also make an in-person debut at Tabooli in East Lansing located at 515 W Grand River Ave, East Lansing starting on Fri., June 17. It will run through Monday, June 27 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Call (517) 993-6461 for more information. This collection and other pieces will travel to different places throughout the state throughout the year. The schedule will be updated on

The Samaritas Youth Art Shop will also offer art lovers and refugee advocates the option of purchasing merchandise, like mugs, beach bags, and journals with imprints of the refugee art. Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit Samaritas Refugee Youth programs.  

Visit the Samaritas Samaritas Michigan Refugee Network page to make a donation, volunteer, or offer other in-kind support to aid all Samaritas New American programs.

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* Important Notice *

Earlier this year, Samaritas was under investigation by the state for allegations of abuse in our emergency shelter in Grand Rapids. We opened this shelter 26 months earlier for children from Central America crossing the border fleeing from horrible condition; we were asked to take in Afghan youth when there was no other place for them to go after the crisis in Afghanistan occurred. We accepted 19 youth in response to this request and our long-term commitment to help youth to the greatest extent possible at the time of their greatest need. Samaritas was one of several similar emergency shelters across the country asked to take in these refugee youth.

Due to the severe level of trauma they had endured, many of them required intensive therapy and counseling. As a result of the growing concern we had for the depth and breadth of those needs of the youth and the safety of our team, we made the decision to work with our referring partners to move the youth to other programs where they could access the higher level of trauma-informed care, supervision, and medical attention that they required. Due to state and federal oversight of our programs, we are unable to share specific details of the investigation but we were cleared of any abuse allegations by the state and all youth were transferred to appropriate residential placements where they could receive the care they needed. Samaritas continues to be a state and federal leader in refugee resettlement, including refugee foster care.


Please Contact:
Joe DiBenedetto
Lambert & Co.
(516) 637-0597

Matt Friedman
Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications
(248) 762-1430