BRISC offers community outreach opportunities

Co-president and senior Addison Helon discusses a canned food drive with BRISC members in social studies teacher Scott King-Owen’s room. (Photo by Alex Flamm)

In the high school halls and city streets, budding activists lead protests, marches and walk-outs for what they believe is right. Bexley Refugee and Immigrant Service Club was created last year to further the message of social activism at Bexley by inviting students and faculty to learn more and offer help to immigrant and refugee communities in the area. 

Alumni John Laing and Isaac Bernstein introduced BRISC at the annual club fair in 2022, junior and BRISC head of logistics Holden Gohs said. Throughout the club’s first year, Gohs said Laing and Bernstein worked to introduce speakers and opportunities to help within the high school. 

Gohs added that BRISC has worked alongside major Columbus organizations, such as the Community Refugee and Immigrant Services. 

“The main goal of BRISC is to help immigrants and refugees in the Columbus area as a whole, but particularly in Bexley, adapt to living in America and making their transition easier,” he said.

He explained with the help of senior co-presidents Addison Helon and Emily Gunther, the club has organized events to raise awareness and worked with a company called Bed Brigade to build and donate beds to those in need.

Helon said social activism is giving time and effort to causes that are important to her.

“People may be surprised to know how much you as an individual can do because so many of the things needed are small tasks,” she said. “If everyone is able to help out a little bit, it really does make such a big impact.” 

Gunther said she works to service the club and leads the meetings every other Friday in BRISC adviser and social studies teacher Scott King-Owen’s classroom. 

Gunther said BRISC helped out with a 5K run organized by CRIS that took place Oct. 22. Furthermore, she explained the club gets involved in the community in other ways.

“We try to support local refugee and immigrant restaurants,” Gunther said.

She added that the club has many events coming up on their 2023-2024 calendar including a ping-pong tournament and competition between first period classes to collect non-perishable foods. 

“With clubs such as BRISC forming within the high school, the potential for change that could be accomplished is immense,” Gunther said. 

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Alex Flamm
Alex Flamm is a junior at Bexley High School, member of the girls tennis team, and a reporter for the Torch.