Service Model

Education is the key to integration.

We focus on educating youth as a means to connect refugee families more quickly and completely to the West Michigan community.

Children learn at a much faster pace than adults and, in turn, strengthen their entire family and community. We offer a number of programs to enhance this process.

Hands Connected Multicultural Center and Provider Network

Preparing young refugees for kindergarten boosts social and economic opportunity.

Early childhood education for refugee families

Studies show that early learning is critical to the long-term development and academic success of children. Unfortunately, language and cultural barriers make it difficult for many refugees to access quality education programs. This means that young refugees are unprepared for kindergarten – especially when it comes to speaking English.

Early Learning Center

Student Support

The Refugee Education Center's School Support initiative uses the following components to promote success among K-12 students:

Comprehensive Homework Support Services

Offered Monday-Thursday from 4 pm – 6 pm. Office hours are 2 pm – 6 pm.

Reading Program

Once students have completed their homework (above), they participate in a 15-30 minute reading session.

Peer Support

We also offer a Peer Support group for middle- and high-school students. Groups meet once a week for two hours over the course of eight weeks.


A slate of Summer Programming extends learning all year long:

Newcomer Program

An 8-week program open to newly arrived K-12 students, regardless of their English literacy skills.

Field Trips

Weekly trips to local cultural sites, including colleges, businesses, museums and activity parks.

Leadership Program

Two-week leadership training for middle and high school kids identified as potential leaders.

Family Engagement

Children learn best when parents are involved and supportive. Our School Impact program encourage this through:

School Liaison Services

School orientations for newly arrived refugee students and their parents, as well as ongoing case support.

Parent Workshops

Monthly events covering such topics as student behavioral expectations, grading systems and graduation requirements.

Referral Services

We refer families to other agencies for services we cannot provide.

We depend on Tutors, Interpreters, Drivers and Interns

School Engagement

We help local schools and teachers anticipate and address the challenges of refugee students:

Consultation and Professional Development

We consult with schools and provide professional development to community schools. Workshops address such issues as the refugee resettlement process, cultural backgrounds of refugee groups in West Michigan and panel discussions with refugee students.

Education Resources

Cultural backgrounders and other resources give educators greater insight into refugee populations.

Converging Paths

We coordinate this collaborative effort to improve the support of refugee students in our schools.

We also organize an annual Converging Paths Conference that includes speakers and workshops on educational challenges and opportunities.

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