Remembering the Joyful Goodness of iACT’s Katie-Jay Scott and Gabriel Stauring

The human heart.

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  • Written by
    Liam Monaghan

“Joy! It’s our open secret.” That was the reason Katie-Jay Scott and Gabriel Stauring gave for doing what they did. From their home base in the South Bay, they traveled to the most forgotten parts of the world—helping refugee communities recover from atrocities beyond human comprehension. The coexistence of that joy amid such heartache was a paradox they lived every day. 

They used whatever resources they could get together and created award-winning preschools, soccer academies, food programs, refugee employment and so much more—always with the guiding principles of mindfulness, providing dignity and being refugee-led. Wherever they went—Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Tanzania, Armenia and so many more places—they went with empathy, determination, humility and, of course, joy. 

It was that joy that burst through in every interaction with them, born from lives full of love, purpose and meaning. It was contagious too—you couldn’t help but ask how you could be a part of their mission. They embraced everyone into the global family they brought together for the cause. 

They were the visionary founders of iACT, an organization dedicated to helping refugee communities around the world. iACT thrives today thanks to their inspiration and the immovable foundations they built through their tireless work and sacrifice. They were also dear friends, beloved family and doting parents to their three children. 

They are gone far too soon, taken from us all in a tragic car accident last year. The world was made better by their amazing light and the way they inspired us to believe that we all have the power to help others. We have been robbed of their contagious joy, but they have taught us that we all have that within us too—unleashed every time we take action in the service of others. 

Their legacy lives in all of us lucky enough to have met Katie-Jay and Gabriel. As we continue their work, their open secret lives on joyfully. Get involved at