Daemen College has received two grants totaling more than $21,800 to support the institution’s Refugee Teen Empowerment Program, which provides mentoring and educational assistance to refugee youth living on Buffalo’s West Side.
Daemen’s program has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the Erie County Youth Services Bureau and a $6,840 grant from the Josephine Goodyear Foundation.
The Refugee Teen Empowerment Program is designed to help make a high school diploma and college education possible for refugee students who have resettled in Buffalo, including a large number who have fled war, persecution, and other serious circumstances in their homeland.
Offered to junior and senior refugee and immigrant students attending Buffalo’s Lafayette High School, the program assists teen participants with preparing for Regents exams, completing college applications, and graduation. The program’s efforts are coordinated between Daemen’s Paul A. Saffrin Center for Sustainability and Civic Engagement and the Department of Academic Service Learning.
“The refugee student population we work with typically have had minimal or interrupted formal education and speak English as a second language, making it challenging for them to do well on exams and earning their high school diploma,” said Cheryl Bird, executive director of the center. “These grants will enable us to continue our efforts in providing assistance to refugee teens so they can be academically successful.”
Mentoring and tutoring sessions are provided by Daemen’s service learning students, who last year assisted 215 program participants with 8,800 hours of tutoring. For June 2016 Regents exams, 83 percent of students in the program increased or maintained their grades.
Daemen’s program also provides enrichment activities, including presentations on the college application process, financial aid, scholarships, and SAT preparation. The college also hosts refugee students for Daemen Day, which gives them the opportunity to tour the campus and learn about the college experience.