Grant to Benefit Daemen Refugee Teen Program

March 9, 2014

Media Contact

Paula Witherell
Director of Institutional Communication
Daemen College
(716) 839-8472
witherell@daemen.edu

AMHERST, N.Y. – Daemen College has received a $10,000 grant from the Erie County Youth Services Bureau for the college’s Refugee Teen Empowerment Program, which provides services to refugee youth living on Buffalo’s West Side.

Offered through the Daemen College-West Side Partnership, the refugee teen program helps make a high school and college education possible for refugee students who resettle in Buffalo, most of whom have been forced to flee their countries because of war and persecution. Daemen’s program, which was established in 2006, focuses on preparing junior and senior students from Lafayette High School for Regents exams and graduation through tutoring sessions coordinated by the college’s Center for Sustainable Communities and Civic Engagement (CSCCE) and the Office of Service Learning.

“Most students we work with have spent their lives in refugee camps with little formal education and no knowledge of the English language. They are held to the same accountability for taking Regents exams after only one year in the United States as are students who have lived here their entire lives,” said Cheryl Bird, executive director of the CSCCE. “This grant will have a lasting impact on the refugee youth who dream of attending college, but find it difficult to pass Regents examinations as a step toward achieving that goal.”

For the June 2013 Regents exams, 103 participants in the Daemen program increased their scores by 10 points or more. What’s more, 88 students who had never passed a Regents exam in a particular subject passed their June exam.

Teachers from Buffalo Public Schools oversee this unique service learning effort. Each semester 15-18 Daemen students serve as tutors and mentors, and the college hosts the refugee students for Daemen Day when they have the opportunity to learn about life on a college campus. In the fall semester, Daemen students contributed more than 600 hours of service to the program.

For more information on the Daemen Refugee Teen Empowerment Program, contact Cheryl Bird at cbird@daemen.edu.

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