In June of 2016 a group of church members came together to form the Refugee Task Force, a committee focused on bringing a refugee to Olympia. This goal continues First Olympia’s legacy of sponsoring refugees beginning in World War II. The group connected with Lutheran Community Services liason, John Forseth, to begin the process. After six months of planning, training and conversation First Olympia was proud to welcome Layla, a 28 year old woman from Somalia. Layla arrived on January 17 at Sea Tac airport, where she was greeted by members of our steering committee. We hope that Layla is only the first of many that we will welcome into the Olympia community.


How to get involved at First Olympia

If you would like to volunteer to spend time with Layla there are a variety of options.

  • Folks to drive Layla to various appointments, classes and job interviews.
  • Folks to take Layla out into the community (go to the movies, out to dinner, to the local park, etc) to socialize and to practice her English.
  • Folks to bring Layla a meal in the evening and spend time enjoying that meal with her.

If you would like to be involved in these “direct-contact” opportunities please contact Angelina Goldwell ( All volunteers must complete a Background Check as well as receive a Safe Sanctuaries/Cultural Competency training.