The Baltimore City Community College Refugee Youth Project seeks to improve the lives of Baltimore’s youngest refugees by supporting their academic needs and making their integration simple and meaningful. RYP is committed to its mission of creating a safe environment for refugee children to improve their literacy skills, enhance their knowledge of American culture, engage in enriching extracurricular activities, and grow to be confident, caring individuals.
- Furnish homework help, enhancing core academic skills, in a safe after-school space
- Provide refugee youth general and targeted practice of the English language
- Prevent high school refugees from dropping out and assist high school seniors with transitioning to college or a career program
- Promote creative self-expression to build self-esteem, foster a sense of community among diverse populations and explore themes of cultural identity
- Educate the Baltimore community about young refugees and their families being resettled in the surrounding area
Since 2003, the Refugee Youth Project has been providing quality after-school and mentoring programs for newly-arrived refugees between the ages of 4 and 21. It was established when refugee and asylee parents taking adult ESL (English as a Second Language) classes at Baltimore City Community College became concerned with the academic success of their children. RYP began with one site and 12 children and has since expanded to meet the needs of over 300 pre-K through 12th grade students in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
In 2007, RYP started its community arts program through a partnership with the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Walters Art Museum.
In 2012, RYP created ArtWorks, a social entrepreneurship initiative that provides students with an integrated curricula of arts skill-building within the framework of marketing, budgeting, promoting, and selling produced goods.
The Refugee Youth Project currently serves newcomers from over 17 different countries, including Bhutan, Burma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mauritania and Sudan.
RYP has been funded by a small grant from the Maryland Office for Refugees and Asylees for most of its existence. Since 2010, RYP has shared an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Refugee School Impact Grant with two organizations: the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Soccer Without Borders (SWB).
The IRC conducts youth case management, parent workshops and youth school adjustment groups. SWB-Baltimore serves newcomer refugee, asylee, and immigrant boys and girls ages 12-18 in Baltimore through year-round programs with an emphasis on academic enrichment and mentorship.
These services combine with RYP’s after-school programming and mentoring programs to furnish holistic wrap-around services for new arrivals.
Kursten Pickup, Refugee Youth Project Coordinator
Brittany DeNovellis, Refugee Youth Project Volunteer Specialist
Baltimore Resettlement Center
c/o Refugee Youth Project
3516 Eastern Ave. Baltimore, MD 21224
The Refugee Youth Project is one of Baltimore City Community College’s unique refugee programs.
Since 1980, BCCC has conducted refugee programs to meet the critical needs of refugees and asylees who have settled in the Baltimore metropolitan area. With funding from the Maryland Office for Refugees and Asylees (MORA), the program has served more than 12,000 refugees from Cuba, Ethiopia, Iran, Eritrea, Iraq, Poland, Liberia, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma, Bhutan, the former Soviet Union, and Vietnam by providing intensive English language, job skills and citizenship preparation instruction.
BCCC refugee programs are adept at serving the variety of needs of Baltimore’s diverse refugee population. English classes range from Pre-Literacy — for those who never attended school in their home countries — to Advanced. An emphasis is placed on helping students toward sustained employment and self-sufficiency. Students who successfully matriculate through BCCC refugee programs often further their education by obtaining a GED, more advanced English study, or taking credit classes in other departments at the College.
BCCC refugee programs are a part of the English Language Services and Basic Skills Department of the College’s Business and Continuing Education Division. The department serves over 4,000 foreign-born individuals annually through four different ESL and skills training programs.
Baltimore City Community College’s mission is to provide quality, affordable, and accessible educational opportunities with comprehensive programs that meet the professional and personal goals of students while improving communities in the greater Baltimore area.
“RYP makes me feel good and happy. I love my teachers.”- Abeer