Refugee and immigrant kids face the unique challenges of adjusting to a new school system and educational expectations, while also trying to reestablish a sense of community and rootedness in a new culture. At World Relief Western Washington, our desire is to see children and families flourish and reach their fullest potential, despite the early obstacles they face upon immigrating. Our Youth & Family Services actively prepare refugee and immigrant children for a successful school experience and long-term cognitive and socio-emotional development by working with them and their families.
Family Literacy Class
The Family Literacy class is a space for refugee parents and children ages 0-5 to engage in separate English lessons through age-appropriate learning activities. They come together to practice songs, games, and activities related to the lesson that parents can repeat with their children at home to promote learning for both parents and children. This class is a place to share parenting strategies, information, skills, and support that can help refugee kids and families thrive.
First Steps - Early Learning Home Visitation
Children’s success and development starts at home, in the context of foundational family relationships. With a trauma-informed curriculum and individualized lesson plans, the home visitation program focuses on strengthening those relationships and preparing children 0-5 for Kindergarten.
Our Early Learning Specialist meets with families in-home to identify goals for cognitive, social and emotional, speech and language, and development in fine- and gross-motor skills, utilizing the space and schedule that works best for them.
Refugee and Immigrant Student Engagement (RISE) Club
We collaborate with the Kent School District and PSESD in King County to provide an after-school program at River Ridge Elementary. Two days a week, students can participate in engaging STEM or art projects, receive homework help, and practice English vocabulary and grammar. Select weekends include exciting, engaging field trips to local educational and natural areas, fostering connection and enrichment.
Most importantly, R.I.S.E. is a community - where students from all over the world can belong. We cultivate connections between peers, where students can laugh together, speak their home languages, and learn social-emotional skills like conflict resolution and goal-setting. They are encouraged develop a trusted relationship with a mentor, asking questions about school culture or collaborating on challenges they are facing in their daily lives.
Refugee Youth Summer Academy (RYSA)
World Relief Western Washington’s goal for the summer program is to create a supportive community for refugee children and youth who share the experience of moving to a new country and the challenges of adjusting to a new school, language, and culture.
Summer Academy focuses on helping refugee youth improve their language, literacy, and social skills through interesting, educational and hands-on lessons. Children explore natural preserves, museums, art, and STEM through exciting and unique weekly field trips.
RYSA is offered annually for 4 weeks. This year, the program will be July 10th-August 4th, 2023.
We are looking for volunteer leaders! Find out more here.
Or, apply as a paid instructor on our job opportunities page.
Access our Amazon Wishlist to purchase books, craft supplies, and equipment for our program.
Family Support Services
Arriving to the United States represents a momentous transition for a family with children. They face changing family dynamics and often the introduction of a new language. Kids must adjust to unfamiliar school systems and academic expectations.
Where they play, who their friends are, how they fit into the community, and what their future looks like have all shifted dramatically in their short lives...sometimes more than once!
We aim to equip families to get through this transition through resources, learning kits, and community connections tailored to their expressed needs.
We coordinate multiple volunteer programs offering supportive relationships and services to newly arrived families. Volunteers support via academic tutoring, school navigation, and more.
Our Behavioral Health Specialist is an additional resource for families, personalizing mental health support and resources to the students that need it most.
Immigrant Youth Internships
We are excited to invest in the next generation of immigrant leaders through an innovative tiered learning model.
Young people in high school and early college with refugee or immigrant backgrounds join the garden team each summer as Equity & Sustainability Interns, who help to develop and teach STEM curricula at the Refugee Youth Summer Academy.
A Project Manager Intern helps to mentor the Equity & Sustainability Interns and becomes a local advocate for positive change in the community.
Are you a young person with an immigrant background and a passion for community and environmental stewardship? Learn more.
Young Adult Mentorship
Volunteer mentors walk alongside refugee and asylee youth ages 18-24 with the goal of developing mutually transformative relationships. Young adults set their life, career, or educational goals and mentors meet regularly to support, find resources and build relationship.
This program is focused on promoting positive civic and social engagement.
"I wish I had a program like this when I was in school with teachers who looked like me. I hope they feel empowered to have big dreams for their futures."
- Equity & Sustainability Intern 2020
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