Lutheran Services of Georgia is excited to announce that the Georgia Department of Human Services Refugee Programs Unit has renewed our Refugee School Impact Grant for the 2015-2016 school year! This grant supports LSG's Refugee School Impact program, launched in the spring of 2015 to serve refugee students, their families, and their schools in Savannah.
The Refugee School Impact program aims to improve the academic performance and social adjustment of refugee children. Refugee students face unique challenges in U.S. schools. School staffmay lack the cultural knowledge and resources necessary to support refugee families. Many refugee children and parents need help improving their English skills to fully navigate the school system. Transportation can be another obstacle, since getting the child signed up to take the school bus can be a long process. Refugees do not have cars when they arrive, so the child often has no alternate way to get to school.
In the spring of 2015, LSG hired Christy Seifert to serve as School Liaison between refugee families, schools, and LSG. Christy conducts interviews with the child and parent to learn about the child's needs, hopes, and dreams. She then uses this information to create Individualized Service Plans that center the child's specific academic and social needs.
Christy is there from the very beginning, enrolling kids in school, registering them for free lunch, teaching them how to ride the bus, and locating and providing school supplies. Throughout the school year, Christy and a team of volunteers support families through tutoring and regular meetings with parents, teachers, and school administration. Three times a year, Christy assesses refugee student improvement in math, reading, and English.
Christy enjoys her work as the School Liaison. She said, "Having lived in foreign countries myself, I know how difficult cultural adjustments can be. I love being able to serve families and help make their transition into American life as smooth as possible. I love the excitement of new students as they watch their improvement on their assessments. I love watching parents get excited about their kids learning. I love being part of dreams coming true."
Christy has seen how, with a little extra help, refugee children can thrive in their new schools. She has seen a lot of progress in the children she serves and shared this story: "There is a child in our program that dreams BIG! He wants to be an astronaut. He loves to study science and is very driven. This child is always asking questions about history and loves to process all he is learning."
LSG's Refugee School Impact program supports refugees along a continuum of care. Parents may receive services through LSG's Family Intervention Services and refugee employment programs. LSG also connects refugees with organizations that offer additional support, including English language instruction for parents, tutoring, summer camp experiences for children, and more.
LSG's Refugee School Impact program served 13 children in the 2014-2015 school year and anticipates serving 24 children this year. LSG thanks the Office of Refugee Resettlement for renewing our Refugee School Impact Grant and is looking forward to another great school year.
To learn more about the Refugee School Impact program, contact Christy Seifert at email@example.com.