The Missouri Department of Higher Education is opening up a community college scholarship program to young adults who were brought to the United States illegally as children.
That means students who qualify for the program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, will be able to trade tutoring hours for two years of tuition reimbursement through the A+ Scholarship Program.
The deferred action program is tied to an Obama administration initiative that started in 2012.
Dozens of Columbia residents and Columbia-based refugees were in attendance at the annual World Refugee Day Celebration in Columbia. The Refugee and Immigration Services of Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri hosted the events at the sixth annual celebration in Columbia, Saturday, June 21, 2014.
The World Refugee Day Coordinator for 2014, Hannah Lammers, said Columbia started the annual celebration six years ago.
Close to 100 refugees filled Broadway Christian Church Saturday, during the Columbia World Refugee Day Festival. The party started out slow, but picked up after someone tossed a few soccer balls onto the field in the back of Broadway Christian Church. Within minutes, dozens of kids and young men swarm the balls, set up goals and begin to play soccer. A few young girls guard the goal, while the rest dribble and shoot in the afternoon heat.
As a refugee from Bosnia, Senad Music knows firsthand how difficult it is to get acclimated to a new culture. He says when he came to America 16 years ago he found it difficult to adapt to the culture, and he is trying to make the transition easier for newer refugees. On a recent weekend at Columbia's World Refugee Day, that means manning the grill during the World Refugee Celebration.
“My mission today is kind of cook food, you know, be on the grill, and welcome people from the community and other refugees," said Music.