Refugee youth face specific challenges to success including education gaps, low-performing public schools and little or no supplemental academic support. In addition, grade level placements for newly arriving refugee children frequently are based on age, rather than academic skills, leaving older youth a short window of opportunity to obtain literacy and core skills before graduating from high school.
Despite these challenges, we consistently find that when refugee youth are supported by social structures and targeted assistance, they make rapid progress in language and literacy and thrive as members of their community.
Led by experienced professional educators, our Youth Programs ensure that refugee children advance on grade level and enter high school prepared and on-track to graduate. In partnership with the DeKalb County Schools, we provide school-based Afterschool and Summer Camp enrichment programs for approximately 160 refugee students.
In addition, our Young Women’s Leadership Program (YWL) engages 20 high school girls each year to develop the skills and knowledge they need to build healthy relationships, make safe and responsible decisions, and prepare for high school graduation and long-term economic self-sufficiency. This unique out-of-school program fosters academic success and provides positive emotional support for refugee girls in grades 9-12 as they adjust to life in the U.S. and confront challenges such as linguistic isolation, separation from family during resettlement, and conflicting cultural expectations. Through individual mentoring, peer-to-peer interaction, career and educational opportunities, and community volunteering experiences, these young women gain self-esteem, confidence, and leadership skills.