For over eight years, middle and high school students have participated in a variety of after school programs at the New American Center (NAC) in Lynn. Even with the end of the school year approaching, though, there are still plenty of opportunities for young people to join one of several programs at the center.
Located in downtown Lynn at 20 Wheeler Street, the NAC offers several free programs for area youth, programs ranging form English as a Second Language (ESL) help and homework tutoring to art programs such as guitar and photography lessons.
Every Monday through Thursday afternoons, students can come between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to practice their English, socialize with peers from their own or different cultures, and get help with their homework. They can come every day or only on certain days they choose.
These youth are refugees, new to the United States, from various countries including: Sudan, Somalia, Liberia, Burundi, Burma, Bhutan, Nepal, Iraq, Belarus, and more.
“We typically have about 25 kids who come to our weekly academic programs and out of those 25 there are so many different countries represented,” said Rebecca Jones, coordinator of youth programs under the Russian Community Association of MA, one of the member agencies of the NAC. “That makes my job very interesting and so much fun!”
On Saturdays from 12:00-2:00 p.m., students are able to use the computer lab and get help with their job searches, college applications, and homework. There are also guitar lessons available and kids will enjoy lots of soccer on the Lynn Commons when the weather warms up.
Although there are 25 students that attend the five days of programs, about 115 are enrolled in the program as a whole, evidence of Lynn’s high refugee population.
Evidence that it is a highly successful, valuable program, Jones said that a previous student, Zaruf Basher, now attends North Shore Community College. To show his appreciation of the programs, Basher also works part-time at the Southern Sudanese Solidarity Organization.
Forming the NAC is a coalition of 7 partner agencies which all serve refugees and immigrants in Lynn. These organizations are all located in downtown Lynn in the JB Blood Building at 20 Wheeler Street. See http://newamericancenter.wordpress.com/
The New American Center is a collaboration of seven non-profit organizations that work to provide services to the refugee and immigrant community in Lynn, MA. These non-profits include: Bosnian Community Center for Resource Development, Congolese Development Center, Haitian-American Public Health Initiative, Jewish Family & Children Services, Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center, Russian Community Association of MA, and Southern Sudanese Solidarity Organization.
Press release provided by Eva Shepard