Summer has arrived. This year we had over 70 refugee students go through our program and had a few favorites graduate. One student is not only graduating & entering college, but is also engaged to be married through an arranged marriage. The first week of June Raquel helped her enroll in community college, apply for various financial aid programs and spent some quality time learning more about the strong familial ties that have led her to becoming engaged so suddenly. Working cross-culturally is always a learning experience. She seems pleased and ready for the move into adulthood and we hope as this engagement becomes official with a trip to Afghanistan for her, that she can continue with her education goals and Raquel’s relationship with her can be maintained.
Summer is also bringing new goals for our work. We along with other StudentReach staff are preparing to open an education center. Using educational partnerships, local experts and our knowledge from helping to start an education center in Kenya, we are working hard to make this center a place for our students to thrive regardless of their past education experiences. Many of our refugee students come to America with some pretty-major gaps in education, for some it can be multiple school years missed during their travels. We are developing the resources to help close those gaps so they can graduate in a timely manner and help their families exit survival mode. In addition, this education center will be servicing our other at-risk youth and homeless youth who are also needing a more personalized and innovative place to learn, socialize and graduate.
Our summer ministry of assisting and leading groups to Baja, for StudentReach is in full swing. As this letter is being composed Adam is kicking off the Baja builds with 2 teams from California. Raquel is also working to develop and raise funds through the local Mexican farmers, to create a sustainable housing program for trafficking victims and single mother’s. The work can feel a little intimidating but is well worth it. We hope to create a space for our American life coaching students to give back internationally and to empower the youth in Baja reach their fullest potential.