Warren St. John is author of national bestseller Outcasts United, a tale of a soccer coach’s determination to unify her team of refugees with life in America. The small town of Clarkston, Georgia struggled to adjust to the change happening so quickly as more and more refugees were relocated
there. The accomplished author came to speak to students and staff.
As an author, St. John explained how gratifying it was for him to get to speak to college classes forced to read the book rather than the usual crowd of people in book stores that read his book by choice. He hoped reading this heartwarming book causes students to look differently at the world
around them. By learning about the challenges refugees face while adjusting to life in America, he hoped students would change their view of outsiders and understand what they face because they are ‘different.’ St. John explained how his journey with the Fugees and their coach Luma Mufleh colored his view of the world. “No one should have to feel like they’re different just because others are afraid of him/her,” he stated. He practiced relational leadership. Working firsthand with the refugee children on the soccer teams as well as their families empowered him to lead others to accept and welcome outsiders.
He also explained, just because a person isn’t a natural leader does not mean they cannot get involved and make a difference. By relating freshman year in college to life in Clarkston for refugees, we could relate to how refugees must feel upon entering the country. Both types of ‘newcomers’ feel scared and lonely as they try to make friends and figure out their place in the world they have just entered. Joining a club or finding ways to relate to the people around you is a sure way a person can start to feel comfortable and secure.
Warren St. John empowered the audience to become leaders that welcome strangers and appreciate what every individual has to offer despite any differences.