Lake Tobias

Messiah University reached out to CWS Harrisburg to ask if the youth program could connect with our refugee clients. Our Messiah University friends wanted meet and better understand the journey disadvantaged folks are on, especially those displaced by humanitarian crises. And they came up with a wonderful idea — they decided to take our new neighbors to Lake Tobias Wildlife Park!!

The day was planned beautifully — first we pet giraffes, saw everything from lions to monkeys, toured the bird houses, hugged baby goats, and took a safari tour, all capped by a catered Halal lunch!

Our new neighbors said it was super cool to see animals like lions, tigers, and crocodiles as they’ve never been anywhere like Lake Tobias in Afghanistan. They said that they know zoos exist in Afghanistan, but they had never visited. Our new neighbors taught us the names of the animals in their native tongue! And we were teaching them the English names! What a beautiful cultural exchange.

One thing that really resonated with us all was seeing the joy our new neighbours felt at seeing animals native to Afghanistan like goats and buffalo, here in the US. It was a beautiful moment of seeing them bridge the gap between their old and new home. Thank you Messiah University volunteers! You brought so much joy to our new neighbors!

If you would like to become a volunteer and lend your time in service, please contact Durre Sharif at or call her at (717) 466-3252. Please also visit our cws website for more info on how to become a volunteer.