The concept of “family empowerment” varies in meaning in different parts of the world. Our experience demonstrates that refugee parents want to lay a secure foundation for their children’s success, but that they sometimes need additional support, skills, education, and encouragement to do so. For many refugees, early learning and child development concepts, the American system of education, and local school system policies are completely unfamiliar.
Our support for parents begins with culturally appropriate training about early childhood development and continues through activities to help them meet the needs of older children and fully understand their parental rights and obligations in American schools.
- Through Parents as Teachers (PAT), a nationally accredited, evidence-based curriculum, we help parents of very young children understand child development, promote literacy, access early learning programs, and become effective teachers and advocates. PAT’s mission is to provide the information, support and encouragement that parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of their lives. One of PAT’s core principals is based on the notion that parents are their children’s first and most influential teachers. PAT educators support refugee parents in being the best teachers they can be.
- Through our Women’s Program we provide culturally relevant and linguistically appropriate services to refugee and immigrant victims of domestic violence in a supportive and trusting environment. The program currently serves 75 to 85 domestic violence survivors and their dependents each year. With more than 20 languages spoken on staff, we are uniquely prepared to meet both the language needs and the culturally specific issues of refugee victims of domestic violence. Our advocates assist clients with crisis intervention, provide direct assistance and support during legal hearings and appointments, and offer transportation, translation and interpretation for legal, medical and other appointments, as well as social services and employment. This assistance is particularly useful to our clients, who may have little work experience and need to obtain basic skills in order to begin planning for self-sufficiency. In addition, we are able to meet a critical need for emergency assistance for clients, especially mothers with young children, who need to quickly move from a dangerous living situation. Women’s Program Advocates conduct regular community outreach and educate members of refugee communities about the effects domestic violence and ways to address it. Through raising community awareness our program reaches out to potential victims and survivors who otherwise might not seek help.
In partnership with DeKalb County Human Services.