Activities, Parties, & Entertainment

Refugee Valentine’s Arts and Crafts Bazaar

AUSTIN – Love will be in the air at the North Austin YMCA on Saturday, February 10, from 10am to 1pm as the Y partners with Global Impact Initiative (GII) to host a Refugee Valentine’s Arts and Crafts Bazaar. The North Austin YMCA is located at 1000 W. Rundberg Lane near Lamar Blvd. More information is available at

The free community event features the work of refugees from several parts of the world who have recently settled in Austin. The artisans will be showcasing hand-made goods, decorative cushions, clothing, gift items, homemade traditional foods and fresh-baked pastries and treats. One hundred percent of proceeds go directly to the vendors. 

“These incredibly talented men and women are trying to rebuild their lives through entrepreneurship, drawing from their unique cultural heritage,” said Anjum Malik, CEO of Global Impact Initiative. “We know Austin is a welcoming community that shows its support for those in need, and we encourage everyone to come learn more about these cultures and these people by celebrating their artistic craftsmanship.”

In the last two years more than 2000 refugees have settled in Central Texas. Through organizations like GII, many have found employment in a variety of sectors such as food processing facilities, commercial driving and hospitality. Refugees are also participating in intensive English-as-a-second language (ESL) classes at the HOFT Institute.

“YMCAs have a long history of providing support to people in times of conflict and welcoming our newest neighbors to America,” said Kristen Pierce, Associate Vice President of Operations for the Greater Austin YMCA. “The Y will be providing more services to the refugee community such as memberships, mental health counseling and recreational programming.”

Pierce highlighted Everline Counseling at the North Austin YMCA as one example of the Y’s inclusive, supportive programming. “We recognize that stigma and financial barriers often deter individuals from seeking help,” Pierce said. “Everline offers a safe and non-judgmental space in our local YMCA centers where YMCA members and community members from all walks of life can access high-quality, low-cost mental health care. Whether through in-person or teletherapy sessions, Everline ensures that help is readily available to those who need it.”

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