Celebrating World Refugee Day
Athens, June 20th, 2022:
June 20th is recognized by the United Nations as World Refugee Day to commemorate the strength and courage of those that were forced to flee their homes to escape war or persecution. This day is marked by a variety of events in many countries around the world in support of refugees.
In celebration of this day, ACS Athens and The HOME Project honor the completion of yet another successful year of the 2021-2022 Youth to Youth Educational & Social Integration program. The program’s mission is to provide a holistic educational experience and promote social integration of lone refugee children in Athens. From 2016, the Youth to Youth Educational & Social Integration program has focused exclusively on The HOME Project children.
The part-time Saturday Youth to Youth project completed its sixth year of operation and is going strong. This year 63 refugee students participated, and 54 ACS Athens volunteer students, together with 19 ACS Athens faculty members and staff worked together to provide high differentiation learning, and above all care and compassion for unaccompanied children from war-torn countries.
The success of the Part-time Youth to Youth Program resulted in the development of the Full-time Youth to Youth program in September 2018 thanks to a grant of 43 full-time scholarships. Testament to the outstanding success of this program, four of the Full-time Youth to Youth students graduated this year and have received full scholarships to American educational institutions to continue their studies.
The impact of the development and implementation of the Y2Y program at ACS Athens far extends its intended goals. In the six years that the program has been running, it has touched the lives of hundreds of refugee minors, educators, facilitators, students, and volunteers. It has created a space of interaction where Greek youth have the opportunity to socialize with the refugee children as a way to fight xenophobia, break stereotypes and bring communities closer.
It has helped ACS Athens students shape the way they learn and interact with their society. The students have grown socially and ethically as active, conscious global citizens manifesting the ACS Athens student profile attributes. It has helped educators expand their pedagogical horizons, and it has given new hope and purpose to displaced children where before only the fear of the vast unknown lay before them.
It is fair to say that humanity has been well served here.