The Journey Together

New Songs in the Neighborhood

Ian North

On a muggy night at the end of May, we sat on concrete bleachers with hundreds of parents, teachers, mentors, and friends to watch the class of 2015 graduate. We laughed, screamed until our voices were hoarse, and shed a few tears as our young neighbors walked across the field to shake their principal's hand and receive their diplomas. At this school, 89% of students are economically disadvantaged, and the graduation rate often drops below 50%. Pregnancy, gangs, economic demands, and domestic turmoil all stand between the children of immigrants and refugees and their high school diplomas. Caps flew into...

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Kuya: Let it Shine

Ian North

At Refugee Beads, we believe that stories create empathy, dignify lives, and reveal meaning. That's why we were thrilled to work with Kuya, one of our favorite electronic bands, to tell stories from our neighborhood on their new album. You can listen to the whole thing here:  This week and next, we'll be posting lyrics and a bit of backstory for each track. Below are the lyrics and Ian's commentary for the first track, "Let It Shine." Let It Shine There will be lightElectric yellow lightWhen you scream Into the night Let it shine There will be hands Children's hands...

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To the Class of 2015

Ian North

Every year, graduation sneaks up on us, and we find ourselves sitting on concrete bleachers on a Friday night, laughing, watching, screaming names, and realizing how much certain people mean to us.  This year, we're trying to get ahead of the crowds and chaos to say how much we love and appreciate a handful of young women and men from this year's graduating class. It's a big deal to make it this far. Diana Castro, we've loved spending time with you, being there at your Quince, taking road trips, watching you find a job and chase your dream of playing soccer on...

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Working for Nepal

Ian North development earthquake jewelry nepal relief

On April 25, I read the terrible news of the earthquake in Nepal. I traveled, built relationships, and worked in ministry there in different capacities over the last four years. Images flooded my mind. I thought of the ramshackle buildings, the makeshift homes, the lives crowded together in Kathmandu, the cliffside shacks, and the villagers who lived at the ends of long, dangerous mountain roads. I watched the death count climb and monitored the Facebook accounts of my friends there, hoping to see posts that announced their safety. They checked in one by one over the next few days, and my thoughts turned to the grief,...

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Mother's Day Jewelry Sale

Ruth Ann North

If you want to make the world a better place, love a mom. They set the course for so many young lives. Moms nurture, shelter, and teach us when we are most vulnerable. Their love surrounds us as we wobble through our first steps, learn to speak, and reach out our hands to feel the world around us. The artisans of Refugee Beads have fled dangerous circumstances, survived devastation, and established homes for their children here in the United States. And now they want to help you honor the mothers in your life with their handmade jewelry. This year for mother's day, when you...

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