BOISE -- An art project for refugee students at Morley Nelson Elementary is changing lives.
Not only is the project helping the students come out of their shells, but it is also raising money to help other refugees get settled here in the Boise area.
Kwizera Dieudonne is a refugee from Africa. He's been living in Boise for three years.
"I get drived to school, I get to eat at school, It's like I'm dreaming right now," said Kwizera. "I love living in America."
He is just one of dozens of students who have taken part in this special art project, making handmade quilt squares of memories from home.
"I made my piece of art about my house, my school," said Kwizera about his art project. "Sometimes it even made me cry because some memories came back as good and some came back as bad."
There is a large refugee student population at Morley Nelson. About 550 to 575 students come from another country, according to Principal Lisa Roberts.
"About 70 of those are refugee students, when you take all those kids together there are 27 different languages in this building alone," said Roberts.
Many of the kids have also had painful experiences in the past. That is why school counselor Mary Ellen Frischmuth and school psychologist Dr Lisa Sterling wanted to help.
"It's so overwhelming to be learning the language and making new friends, getting used to new smells and foods," said Frischmuth. "We have got to do something for these kids that are coming here with all this trauma and violence in their past."
For 10 weeks, the kids met once a week to work on a quilt square of their very own. And suddenly it was easier to share their stories.
"When the war started we just had to go somewhere to be safe and stuff." said Khabit Khalid, a student from Iraq.
"On the first day, I didn't know anything. But I know some hello and goodbye, that kind of stuff," said Aziza Yodasheva, a student from Uzbekistan
Originally, the memory squares were going to be sewn together to make a quilt - but that never happened.
The kids were so attached to their squares, they all wanted to take them home. Then, another idea sprouted.
"Someone said, this could be artwork, it's so beautiful," said Dr. Sterling.
Intermountain gas offered to print the note cards, and the school put them up for sale.
The cards are selling fast. Some proceeds go to the International Rescue Committee in Boise to help new refugee families get settled.
For Mary Ellen and Lisa - these kids are the reason why they do what they do.
"They teach you about yourself and life and what's important."
They are all - "Seven's Heroes".
If you'd like to buy some of the art project cards -- you can do that by contacting Morley Nelson Elementary School.
If you have an idea for a Seven's Hero, someone who's making a difference in our community, email Maggie O'Mara and let her know.