IRC's flagship Refugee Youth Summer Academy is entering its 21st year in New York and 5th year in New Jersey, but has never experienced a summer quite like this one. While New York and New Jersey recover as epicenters of COVID-19 in the U.S., IRC staff are hard at work ensuring all programs can be safely adapted for client and staff health alike. IRC youth programs are no exception, and adjustments are well under way for RYSA 2020 in both New York and New Jersey.
In New York, RYSA is traditionally a six-week in-person program for K-12 newly arrived students in New York City. Organized into six classes, students strengthen learning strategies, English language acquisition, and enrichment through arts and movement education. This year, RYSA will endeavor to offer adapted versions of these essential program elements. Each class is led by an ESL-certified New York City teacher, which will be an even greater strength this summer as teachers will have experienced virtual school adaptations in the spring of 2020.
In New Jersey, RYSA nests in a three-week period between Elizabeth Public School summer school programming and the beginning of the school year. In the past, RYSA has been held at nearby Kean University, which has graciously shared its classrooms and green space for refugee students to learn and play with their classmates and teachers. This year, IRC will provide supplementary supports during virtual summer school programming from the school district in addition to virtual RYSA.
IRC youth program staff are hard at work to make virtual RYSA as strong as possible in both New York City and Elizabeth. As plans continue to evolve, keep an eye on the New York and Elizabeth pages for donation and volunteer opportunities, especially in support of virtual learning through hardware and support!
Interested in supporting or exploring volunteer opportunities? Donate here or email VolunteerNY [at] rescue.org (subject: RYSA%202020) for more information.