Each year, our Youth Futures program offers a summer camp for refugee students from local high schools. This year’s camp, Ready. Set. College., provided a variety of enrichment activities to prepare attendees for college life, as well as fun and educational field trips to build confidence and social skills. As our young people head back to school, some for their final year, we’d like acknowledge all the wonderful people and organizations that helped make Ready. Set. College. so successful!
Camp got off to an exciting start back in June, with an African dance lesson led by Lauren Polansky, a day of team building facilitated by psychologists from Georgia State University’s Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, and a presentation from Partnership Against Domestic Violence and the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential. Our students were able to experience hands on learning with STE(A)M Truck, a workshop on professionalism, resume writing and interviewing with our IRC youth counselors, as well as a writing workshop with the Gifted Foundation, which then inspired an essay writing contest where students with the four best essays were awarded laptops to support their at-home learning.
To complement the workshop program, students also received one hour of SAT prep each day facilitated by Eric Garbe, and attended college campus tours and information sessions at Georgia State University and Oglethorpe University. Many students reported that SAT prep was their biggest motivator for attending camp, with one student stating: “Practicing and learning about SATs is making me feel more confident for next year.” One of our fantastic youth program volunteers, Elise Peterson, raised money for SAT books and stationary, but camp wasn’t all just hard work and studying – Elise also raised money to treat our young people to a fun-packed day at Six Flags amusement park, which one student told us was “extremely super excellently fun” and “the best trip ever!”
More fun ensued when Ready. Set. College. collaborated with our New Roots program for a trip to Decatur Farmers Market, who generously donated $5 tokens for each student to purchase fresh produce to take home to their families. To compliment the students learning about food and nutrition, our youth program staff arranged a Cultural Cook Fest, where students prepared cuisine from their home countries and invited family and friends to share the meal.
To round off an action-packed summer, our youth counselors took 14 students on an overnight field trip to Len Foote Hike Inn, located in Amicalola Falls State Park. Hike Inn naturalist Rachel Usher accompanied our group on the strenuous five mile hike to the inn from the top of Amicalola Falls, and provided information on the natural habitat of the area. Students were greeted by friendly staff at the Hike Inn and took a tour of the facility before enjoying a delicious family style dinner and an evening of art activities. This memorable trip was made possible through generous sponsorship from the Hike Inn and the Sierra Club Inspiring Connections Outdoors program.
The IRC in Atlanta is very grateful for the continued support of all our partners who made this summer camp a truly enriching experience for our students. We’re especially grateful for Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church for providing rooms, facilities and a “home base” for Ready. Set. College. this year, and are so appreciative of all the restaurants who donated lunches to ensure our students received a hot meal every day of camp, including Mellow Mushroom Decatur, Chai Pani, Dantannas, and Farm Burger.
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Alexis Buchanan, Development Manager at Alexis.Buchanan [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8930.