Angelo Luis with students at local elementary school

Lutheran Services of Georgia (Refugee and Immigration Services)

This Contextual Education group is a unique opportunity for students to engage vulnerable populations and to learn about refugee life in the U.S. Students will work at Lutheran Services of Georgia (LSG) Refugee and Immigration Services in downtown Atlanta or visit refugee families in their homes in the refugee community in Clarkston. Students will work alongside LSG’s culturally diverse staff (over 50% are former refugees) in a Self-Sufficiency and Employment-focused English as Second Language (ESL) class or by assisting refugee families new to the U.S. as a Refugee Cultural Mentor. During the course of the year, students will have the option to participate in a Saturday visit to immigrant detainees in the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, through LSG’s Friends In Hope Detention Visitation Ministry (FIH).

Site Work

Students can select from the following options:

Cultural Mentors: Students schedule a 3 hour visit weekly with refugee/refugee family based on student/refugee availability AND one Saturday, 7 am to 7 pm detention visit (for an additional 12 hours per semester)

Afterschool Program Volunteers: 3:30-6:30 pm Mon-Thursday (chose 1 day per week) AND one Saturday, 7 am to 7 pm detention visit (for an additional 12 hours per semester). @ Clarkston High School

Employment Coaches: Wednesday, 9 am to 1 pm in Clarkston. Students working in this role will also have an option of participating in a detention visit on one Saturday, 7 am to 7 pm. @ LSG Apartment, Clarkston Townhomes, off of Indian Creek.

Wed 9 am – 1pm; TBA 3 hours weekly home visit or 3:30-6:30 pm Mon-Thursday (chose 1 day per week) afterschool session PLUS one Sat 7 am to 7 pm detention visit.

Fall 2018 Reflection Group

Tuesday 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. at Candler, led by Melanie Johnson, Site Supervisor.

Spring 2019 Integrative Seminar

Tuesday, 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. at Candler, led by Melanie Johnson and Dr. Joy McDougall.

Pastoral Care Class

Students who enroll in LSG will also enroll in Intro to Pastoral Care PC501CE in the fall semester (Thursday, 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.), taught by Dr. Gregory Ellison.

Faculty Academic Advisor

Dr. Joy McDougall will serve as the academic advisor for Lutheran Services students and will join the group for the spring Integrative Seminar.

Site Mission

Lutheran Services of Georgia’s Refugee and Immigration Services seeks to build welcoming communities by serving, empowering and advocating with refugees and immigrants. LSG’s Refugee and Immigration Services walks alongside refugees and immigrants from arrival to citizenship as they seek to build a new life in the US. LSG provides resettlement services, cultural orientation, employment services, social adjustment services, a resiliency program for refugee children, and immigration legal services through a team of dedicated and culturally competent staff, volunteers, faith and community partners. 

About the Site

Lutheran Services of Georgia (LSG) Refugee and Immigration Services resettles newly arrived refugee families. It helps prepare the refugee family's first home, helps them to secure the documents they and their children need for work and school, develops work opportunities for them, and guides them through their first experiences in a new culture. Its ultimate goal is to help the refugee family achieve economic self-sufficiency and successful integration into their new community and new country. This organization is based in downtown Atlanta, on Peachtree Street.

At LSG, Candler students will offer support and cultural translation for newly arrived as well as more established refugee families by assisting with preparation for the first U.S. job, and mentoring refugee families. For immigrants impacted by the U.S. immigration detention system, Candler students will serve as a compassionate presence by visiting immigrants in detention.

Student Reflection

MDiv student Jacob Cogman reflects on his Contextual Education I experience at Lutheran Services of Georgia during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Additional Requirements & Accessibility

The LSG office is located adjacent to the Peachtree Center MARTA station, but most site work will take place at locations in Clarkston. Students who plan to rely on public transportation should consult train and bus schedules for more information.


Lutheran Services of Georgia (LSG)
230 Peachtree Street NW, Ste 1100
Atlanta, GA 30303-1526
Phone: 404.875.0201 or 800.875.5645
Handicap Accessible: Y

Site Supervisor

Melanie Johnson is the Director of Community Engagement for Lutheran Services of Georgia. LSG’s Refugee and Immigration Services welcomes and walks alongside refugees in both Atlanta and Savannah. Melanie holds an MA in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and is a Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.