New American Africans is a community-based organization providing supportive services to recently arrived refugees in the greater Concord area and throughout the state. Our goal is to help newcomers to feel welcomed and secure in their new community, particularly during the "post-resettlement period" when much of the federal-funded refugee assistance has ended. We work with community members to address ongoing needs for English language learning, jobs, decent housing and successful schooling.
For students who are resettled to the United States as teenagers, the challenges are enormous. Often, these young people spent most of their early years in refugee camps, with limited and interrupted schooling. Resettled in Concord, they are put into an age appropriate class, even if their skills are at an elementary level. They need to learn English, as well as do remedial work in every subject. Their parents need to understand U.S. schools to advocate for their children.
Our youth have a chance to build skills in a safe environment. Student volunteers are available for one on one help. Also, immigrant students who have been here for a longer period of time help newcomers in their native language.. We offer African dance classes as a way to encourage children to maintain connections with their cultural traditions. Our Director spends time with parents who are navigating the conflicts that often arise as youth more rapidly acculturate to their new home.
By offering intensive support during the very challenging first years in an American school system, we help to diffuse the frustration and feelings of hopelessness that come with immense change. When immigrant youth build academic confidence, the entire school functions more smoothly. An investment in youth achievement opens the door to higher education, leading to meaningful employment and to a diminished need for tax supported social services as they move into adulthood.