Helping Those Far From Home

August 12, 2013 Updated Aug 12, 2013 at 10:18 AM EDT

By WKBW Admin

...
August 12, 2013 Updated Aug 12, 2013 at 10:18 AM EDT


Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - Andres Bernard has had a tough run the past few years.

"I'm originally from Columbia, South America and I came to the U.S. Five years ago. I've been fighting my refugee status ever since," Bernard said.

He came to stay at Vive La Casa in Buffalo. It's an organization that helps people who cannot go back to their country because of legal and safety issues seek Asylum in the US. Andres and others say Vive is a safety net.

"Now, I can keep fighting for my asylum but I can do it in a peaceful quiet way," Bernard said.

He said that is just what the organization offer. Now, a Williamsville teen wants to make it even better for Andres and others. Emily Pawlowski, 17, has decided to build a gazebo in front of the facility. This is all part of her Girl Scout Gold Project.

"I saw that they had no place to sit and relax out of the sun. I really wanted to give them that," Pawlowski said.

The gazebo will be built right next to the playground you see behind me. It's a 12 feet by 12 feet structure to accommodate many of the people here. Emily said she hopes it will give them the comfort and safety they are seeking.

Pawlowski and her volunteers built the gazebo over the weekend. She said about twenty people came out to help and $2200 in funds were raised through donations from the community.

"It makes me feel really good especially seeing the peoples faces and hearing their reactions when they see it," Pawlowski said.

As for Andres, he said this gazebo is a great addition to a place that has brought him some peace in his long fight for freedom.

"It's like this little oasis in the desert. Where you can just (sighs)," Bernard said.