Outreach Programs holiday drive shows giving spirit of campus community

This holiday season, while many people prepare for holiday parties and other festive events, Jenifer Giroux has been devoting her time and energy to students in need.

Giroux, director of workforce development and training for RIC Outreach Programs, is delivering donations of money, food, and clothing, which she has collected from the RIC campus community, to displaced student immigrants in need of basic amenities.

Nancy Miller, left, and Jenifer Giroux prepare a delivery of goods for student refugees.
(Photo: David Okon '13)
Because of the recent cold snap, Giroux said she is donating items as soon as she receives them, especially winter clothing such as coats, gloves and hats.

The RIC Outreach holiday donation drive was started after Outreach Programs case manager Nancy Miller informed Giroux of the high number of refugee students in need of clothing and food during this holiday season.

The campus Co-Op Preschool is also getting involved. They have “adopted” a refugee student for the holidays, and have been donating money, food, clothing and personal items for that individual.

Giroux, along with a team at RIC Outreach Programs, has been working in partnership with International Institute Rhode Island to assist a high student refugee population, made up primarily of low-income and unemployed students.

The partnership has been ongoing since 1990, getting its start as a grant project within the School of Management. Outreach Programs provides vocational training and job placement services. Students are enrolled in the vocational program year round, working to gain skills, such as learning English as a second language, thus preparing them to return to the work force.

RIC Outreach Programs supports the work of the International Institute by focusing primarily on providing educational resources to refugees. The partnership is mainly supported by grants.

“I am overwhelmed by the tremendous generosity of the students, faculty, and staff on campus,” Giroux said. “I asked for gently used coat and winter clothing donations for our students a few weeks back. Every single day since, I have received deliveries of donated items from campus members as well as phone calls and emails asking how people can get involved and help.”

Giroux is continuing to collect donations throughout the year. To participate in the RIC Outreach holiday donation drive, contact Jenifer Giroux at (401) 456-9782 or jgiroux@ric.edu.