We have distilled, through our years of service and experience, the elements of post-resettlement life that most serve to prepare a refugee for full participation in their community. While we recognize that life is complex, and every story unique, we believe these areas once addressed best prepare a person.
Education - We seek to provide primary and supplemental education programs designed to coincide with traditional education in order that students and children may excel. We also provide cultural education to communities at large so that they may fully support and engage their new American neighbors, students, and/or co-workers.
Economic Stability - We seek to help develop economic opportunities and guide refugees in career opportunities, as well as prepare people for engaging with and using financial systems.
Housing - We join our voice with the many calling for fair and affordable housing practices. We have developed partnerships with state and private housing agencies and systems to ensure refugees have a safe place to call home.
Cultural & Lingual - For many, the United States poses many cultural and linguistically challenging situations that differ from birth countries. We seek to prepare refugees so that they many engage with new cultures while retaining identity.
Health - Health systems can be complex to navigate, we seek to break down barriers and build bridges to make necessary healthcare and mental healthcare more accessible.
Our Programs & Services
Our year-round after-school and summer programming that supports refugee students in areas of STEM, literacy, and socio-emotional well being. Project Faulu is designed specifically for newly resettled refugee children whose cultural adjustments and past trauma can make learning difficult. Our goal is to prepare students for their classroom education and also supplement traditional education with one-on-one as well as peer support.
The Refugee Education Center operates Hands Connected, an early childhood education program including both a center as well as a network of home-based providers. The center (located in Alger Heights) is staffed by credentialed refugee women and men who serve 21 children aged 0-3 from a 60% refugee, 40% non-refugee background. Together with our home-based providers, we provide early learning opportunities for 150 children.. The Refugee Education Center's Hands Connected provides culturally responsive and multi-lingual pre-K — staffed by refugees — one of the only early childhood education centers of its kind in the country.
College & Career
Supporting refugee students aged 15-24 in college readiness, high school completion, trade certifications, and more. Our goals are to 1) enhance/improve the life skills they need to succeed in an academic or professional setting such as technology, organization, and soft-skills, 2) introduce the students to various post-secondary options, and 3) dive in-depth into the process of apply for college and/or apply for a professional career.
Parent and caregiver school orientation and school enrollment support, assistance with parent-teacher conferences, and parent/student workshops. We focus on supporting refugee families and interactively discuss and navigate the American school system and its nuances. We support students in their new environments and give parents the information needed to do the same!
Our Community Workers provide direct assistance and referrals for refugee families (whether new to West Michigan or more-established) with needs in areas of education, health, housing, and economic stability. We help people get enrolled in our direct service programs, partners’ direct service programs, or other state-funded benefit programs.
Monday – Friday
2130 Enterprise St SE
Kentwood, MI 49508
Summer Literacy Program
College & Career Services
Family Engagement Services
Monday – Friday
2530 Eastern Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
Early Childhood Education
Hands Connected Multicultural Center