Preparing to navigate a new school year in a new place can be intimidating for many kids. This year our Refugee Youth Summer Program continued back in person to help kids prepare for the upcoming school year. A total of 27 children, ages 6-14 participated in the camp.

The Refugee Youth Summer Program helps students who are new to the community get familiar with the school system before starting in the fall. The participants learn about school rules, such as raising their hands and lining up to leave the classroom. They also learn simple English, like how to let teachers know if they are sick or if they need to go to the restroom.

The program had guest appearances from KC Cyclones, KCPD, and KCFD. Safety presentations from KCPD and KCFD led to many questions from kids eager to learn more. Hayden Swanson, Refugee Youth Program Specialist, said ” The kids loved the guest appearances– they had so many questions for the officer and firemen who came. They especially loved getting to see a firetruck and police car up close and getting to sound the sirens.”

Fifteen volunteers helped staff throughout the week. Each classroom had a lead teacher with three assistant teachers. Volunteers led STEAM activities like making slime, airplanes, and tie-dye shirts. They also helped with lunch, setting up the camp, and preparing activities. Our interns and VISTA volunteers also helped with transporting the kids to and from the program.

This program helps build the confidence in students to have a successful first school year in their community.