Last week, IRC staff members packed up 85 at-home learning kits to be delivered to the homes of newcomer youth in the greater Seattle area. 

Each delivery was customized to fit the need of the student. High school students recived compasses, graphing calculators, headsets, pens and paper, and study supplies. Elementary students recieved pencils, crayons, construction paper, and art supplies which will be used in their supplemental art classes taught by IRC staff. All deliveries included the basics needed to actively participate in thier online classes, as students in King County continue to study from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Seven months in to learning from home, the newcomer students working with the IRC in Seattle's Youth Program continue to show perseverance and a dedication to education, despite the barriers that have come with a shift to a remote learning environment. Earlier this summer, IRC's Youth Program Coordinator, Rachel Stephens, shared some insight into the cascading effects of COVID-19 on newcomer youth. “We know that school and a regular routine are key factors in helping students who have experienced trauma to recover and build resiliency. " As COVID-19 continues to challenge families, generous community members and groups have stepped up to help bridge gaps and support young learners.

IRC staff member Rachel helps pack up donated school supplies for newcomer youth studying from home.
Photo: IRC

Since March, 434 at-home learning kits have been delivered to newcomer students this year, including the 349 at-home learning kits that were distributed earlier this summer. Nearly all of the items donated were contributions of community members and generous individuals. Families made an activity out of it, building learning kits together. Work colleagues at local offices organized and gathered much needed art and study supplies. Jesse, a staff member with the Youth Program here at the IRC in Seattle, was shocked and delighted at the number of donations. These donated items allow the Youth Program to be strategic with their available funds, and access resources to help further benefit the refugee and asylee students they work with. "Due to a bulk of the at-home learning kits being donated, we were able to purchase culturally relevant books and e-workbooks to build out a more robust e-learning curriculum."  

Thank you to all who donated, spread the word, or supported the IRC in Seattle's mission to support newcomers in our communities. Your contributions have helped students adapt and succeed in their online schooling!

If you would like to support newcomers this holiday season, sign-up for our Winter Welcome Donation Drive or donate directly to support the IRC in Seattle's work.