Ethiopian Community Development Council /African Community Center
The Refugee Youth Outreach Program (RYOP)
The Refugee Youth Outreach Program (RYOP) seeks to raise awareness of refugee issues through empowerment and leadership skills programming for refugee youth to facilitate their academic and social integration in Denver, CO.
The RYOP works specifically with newcomer refugee youth to build their English language and life skills. The program also works to increase academic success through a partnership with Bennie Goodwin, a non-profit reading program. Other ACC programs such as Summer Programming and Enrichment activities are essential to RYOP.
The Refugee Youth Outreach Program consists of the following components:
The RYOP utilizes best practices established by BRYCS; donations; and volunteers. RYOP uses the curriculum, "LifeSkills Training: Promoting Health and Personal Development" (by Gilbert J. Botvin, published by Princeton Health Press); a cultural orientation component has been added and called "Skills for New American Kids" (SNAK). Games and sports equipment are also used to increase program effectiveness.
The RYOP serves newly arrived refugee youth (arriving within the past 12 months) between the ages of 12 and 18 years old. The RYOP has served more than 300 refugee youth from 15 nationalities since its inception in 2005. It receives referrals from the three local voluntary refugee resettlement agencies in Denver (ERIS, ACC, LFS). Since the program started in 2005, the RYOP has served more than 300 refugee youth from 15 nationalities. It receives referrals from the three voluntary refugee resettlement agencies in Denver (Ecumenical Refugee and Immigration Services, African Community Center and Lutheran Family Services). The three largest ethnic populations currently being served are Burmese, Nepali, and Congolese youth.
Private and State Foundations, along with fundraisers and private donations. Currently ACC has Statewide Strategic Use Funds (SSUF) through June 2011, and also receives funding from the Frank Foundation.
This program is run by a manager, a school enrollment coordinator, AmeriCorps volunteer, interns, and numerous other volunteers. All go through a cultural orientation and trainings to prepare for work with refugees Volunteers attend a training on ACC and a personalized training using the Youth Program Manual (depending on their role in the youth department). All volunteers, interns and staff undergo a Colorado Background Check.
Evaluation Methods measure the success of program activities primarily through qualitative measurements. Data is collected by means of pre- and post-surveys as well as daily interaction and conversations with participants. Through a collaboration with the Partnership for Families and Children (PFFC), RYOP was able to specify process and outcome objectives and design measures that provide both process and outcome data. The RYOP activities are defined as successful in the case that evaluation findings demonstrate:
Youth participating in past programming stay involved with ACC activities, mentor younger participants, and provide positive leadership models for newly-arrived youth.
Enrichment Activities include all participants in the after-school program who engage in five to six enrichment activities per semester. Students have participated in activities revolving around dance, art, and music. On average, the soccer program has 30-60 youth show up to practices and games. Youth come in both rain or shine, cold or hot weather as a testament to their devotion to the team and their love of soccer. The CRYSP program includes completion of workshops offered bi-weekly for two and a half hours for 12 weeks at ACC’s Learning Center. The program supports 10-12 scholars with a $1,000 scholarship.
ACC has also created the curriculum Refugee Education for Awareness, Change and Hope (REACH) to inform American students about the refugee experience. (Please see the website for details)
Brenda Herrera-Moreno, Youth Program Coordinator
This program runs year round, including school holidays and summer programming. This program has been operating since 2005 and is still operating as of May 2011.