The International Center of Kentucky is hosting a World Refugee Day celebration in Owensboro to introduce the community's refugee population to much-needed services and commemorate the impact that population has on the community at large.

Each year, the United Nations, the U.N. Refugee Agency and countless civic groups around the world host World Refugee Day events. They honor the strength, courage and perseverance of resettlement agencies and their clients and set aside a special time for the public to show support for refugees and their families.

Although the holiday is June 20, the center will celebrate from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at Owensboro Christian Church, 2818 New Hartford Road. The event is sponsored by Tyson Foods and U.S. Bank.

"It's a big celebration," said Susann Bartlett, targeted assistance program coordinator at the center's office in Owensboro. "That's what it's for. It's to celebrate our clients and how far they've come -- what they've accomplished and where they're going. It's a testament to the resettlement program as a whole."

Community partners representing employers and employment agencies, medical offices, civic and public service organizations, Realtors, schools and more will be present with information booths and giveaways. Each year, the festival celebrates Owensboro's growing diversity with cultural food, activities and games. The Daviess County Public Library will offer library cards for individuals and families, and can sign up participants in the annual Summer Reading program.

Cultural dance performances will wrap up the event, along with free door prize drawings. There will also be face painting and special games for children.

"We have an abundance of community partners who really make it a fun event," Bartlett said. "New this year are Catholic Charities and the Owensboro Human Relations Commission, who we are happy to have with us."

More information about the International Center of Kentucky is available at icofky.com or by calling 270-683-3423.

Austin Ramsey, 270-691-7302, aramsey@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @austinrramsey

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