Refugee and immigrant youth face unique challenges. War, displacement and trauma have often interrupted the educational and social processes for youth and their families. Many refugee and immigrant youth struggle to adjust to a new culture and to overcome traumas experienced in their countries of origin, contributing to low self-esteem, anger and disciplinary issues.

ReWA’s Youth Program offers activities to help refugee and immigrant youth succeed in school, develop effective problem-solving skills, and create supportive peer networks.

Programming includes:

  • Targeted academic assistance by ReWA staff and volunteers
  • Emphasis on cooperation in a multicultural environment
  • Access to a variety of reading materials
  • Development of science skills in association with the Seattle Parks & Recreation
  • Girls-only groups for teenagers and elementary school students
  • Public service projects
  • Musical activities
  • Gardening and physical activities
  • Fun field trips like swimming, hiking, and visiting Seattle landmarks
  • Cooking classes
  • Self-defense classes

ReWA partners with the Seattle Public Schools’ Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center (SBOC) and several other service providers to operate a 21st Century Community Learning Center at SBOC. The Learning Center serves refugee and immigrant students in grades 6 through 12. On any given day, there are 30-40 students participating in homework assistance, cultural exploration, literacy instruction, and basic skill-building in mathematics. This after-school programming is staffed by the Seattle Public Schools' Instructional Assistants who work closely with day-teachers to ensure academic success. The Instructional Assistants speak the range of student languages, including: Chinese, Burmese, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinian, and Vietnamese.

In addition to helping program participants with after-school activities promoting academic success, the Youth Program utilizes the nationally standardized Youth Program Quality Assessment to assess and improve program quality. The assessment is used by staff to create a safe and supportive environment, increase student interaction opportunities, and encourage student engagement. All of these elements have been shown to improve student success in an after-school program environment.

Our Youth Program staff see themselves as one piece of the educational system that will lead refugee and immigrant youth to become leaders in the community as adults. To reach this goal, the program collaborates with parents, schools and other community providers to ensure the whole-child is successfully served.


Want to support the education and well-being of refugee and immigrant youth?  Check out this letter from Ario Salazar, Youth Program Manager, to find out how!


For more information about the Youth Program, please contact Ario at (206) 721-8453 or