Due to various reasons, refugee youth drop out of high school at extremely high rates. This often leads to a limitation of future career choices and propagation of poverty. A sense of community has been proven to enhance academic performance as well as help youth overcome adverse childhood experiences.
50 to 60 youth aged 8-18 participate in the Student Tutoring Program, which divides youth by comprehension level. Carefully selected USC mentors provide individualized, in-home assistance for all subjects including, but not limited to:
Scholastic & citizenship exam preparation
English Conversation Program
The best way to learn a language is to immerse oneself in that language. The English Conversational Class pairs refugees with community volunteers to work on basic vocabulary and reading comprehension and just talk! Conversation questions, flashcards, and workbooks are provided as “conversation starters”. Not only is the English Conversational Class beneficial to refugees, this class is a great way for volunteers to learn about cultures and for refugees to build relationships with their community. While more “advanced” refugees participate in the English Conversational Classes, Ms. Cindy Hall holds basic ESL classes for those with limited English skills; once students graduate from Ms. Hall’s class, they participate in the Adult English Conversational classes.
The English Conversation Program is also on Monday and Tuesday from 6-7pm every week.
Carolina Survivor Garden
Many refugees were farmers in their countries of origin. The garden program allows refugees to grow their native crops while engaging in therapeutic activities. Therapeutic gardens are research-proven to reduce isolation, create a sense of purpose, and encourage creation, which are all ways to heal from trauma. Refugees get their hands dirty while engaging with community and healing.
Art Classes: Worlds of Creativity
In partnership with the Columbia Arts Center, located in downtown Columbia, we hold art classes for refugees. Through art, our clients are able to express themselves in ways they are unable to with words. Those who experience torture or trauma are often unable to speak about their experiences in depth, and art provides a much needed outlet. In addition to another therapeutic healing mechanism, pottery, weaving, and painting are a lot of fun!