Phoenix College Adopt-A-Family 2018

Phoenix College Faculty with Refugees

For the past 18 years, Phoenix College’s staff, faculty, and students have joined together with the Arizona Immigrant and Refugee Services, Catholic Charities, the International Refugee Committee, and the Lutheran Social Services during the holiday season to provide much-needed assistance to locally-placed refugees. This year, 26 families received donations from the extraordinary campus-wide effort.

The program was originally incepted by English Professor Dr. Joseph Kimbuende and Pam Rogers back in 2000. The program was inspired by an act of generosity during Dr. Kimbuende’s education at Northern Arizona University. Coming to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1986, Dr. Kimbuende and his family lived modestly, focusing on the things most important to them. Then one day, “there was a knock on the door and there were these strangers with gifts. It meant so much to us.” This small act of generosity has left a lasting impression.

The program began modestly, helping one family back in 2000. Since then, Dr. Kimbuende, Pam Rogers, and the Phoenix College Adopt-A-Family program have helped more than 250 refugee families. This year, over 195 people were able to receive generous donations from the PC Community. The refugees come from all over the world, displaced from their homes in order to escape things beyond their control. These families have been in the country for less than a year. In years past, these refugees have been Afghan, African, Bhutanese, Cuban Haitian, Iraqi, Russian, and Syrian. This year, the family size was larger than usual, consisting (on average) of six to seven people.

During a Saturday in December, Dr. Kimbuende, PC Staff, students, and volunteers loaded up their vehicles and set out around the valley heading to various refugee complexes (12 in total) and delivered the generous donations. These included everything from clothes and household goods, to furniture and school supplies. One year, someone was moving and they donated their whole apartment! Dr. Kimbuende recalled, “The woman had just moved into her apartment and it was empty. When she saw the furniture, tears started flowing down her face.”

“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.” – Brian Tracy.

Now more than ever, we need to come together and show unconditional love and acceptance. For the past 18 years, Dr. Kimbuende and the Phoenix College Community have come together and touched the lives of countless families and refugees through the generosity of others.

 … Here’s to another 18.


If you would like to learn more information about the Phoenix College Adopt-A-Family project or would like to make a donation, please contact Dr. Joesph Kimbuende at 602-285-7561.


Media Contact - Erika Keenan, 602-285-7842,

About Phoenix College

Phoenix College is one of the 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation. Phoenix College offers academic courses leading to associate degrees, university transfer, certificates and short-term job training to more than 11,000 students annually.