Youth-to-Youth Educational and Social Integration Programs
A joint project between ACS Athens and the Home Project Organization
The Youth-to-Youth (Y2Y) Program, is an innovative educational and social integration program that was developed in the midst of a crisis to meet the needs of an ever growing refugee population. This unique program is based on the principles of active and responsible conscious citizenship which provides a meaningful, holistic and harmonious educational experience to all students.
Since the beginning of the crisis the American Community Schools (ACS) of Athens assumed leadership in establishing a comprehensive educational and social integration program to support the unaccompanied refugee minors.
As of January 2017, the Youth-to-Youth Educational and Social Integration Programs, which are designed and implemented entirely by ACS Athens students,faculty, and staff volunteers, are run in collaboration with The HOME Project Organization, an NGO that provides holistic care and shelter to unaccompanied refugee minors.
But what exactly is the Youth-to-Youth Project? It is exactly what the name says; a meaningful educational experience for unaccompanied minors that promotes social inclusion based on a student-to-student learning model.
Students are taught by ACS Athens faculty using the ACS Athens curriculum - a program of studies based on the American educational philosophy and accredited by MSA. Both the Part-time and Full-time programs offer students courses in English, Greek, computer literacy, music, art and athletics. During their classes, the children of The HOME Project bond with the ACS Athens students, creating together a uniquely caring learning community at the school campus giving them a sense of belonging - and most importantly, the opportunity to take their lives into their own hands.
Since the inception of the program in 2016, 160 unaccompanied refugee minors have participated in the part-time program and 20 recipients of full scholarships from the Shapiro Foundation participated in the Full-time Youth-to-Youth program. Approximately 14 have found full-time or part-time employment through direct assistance of The HOME Project.
The impact of the development and implementation of the Y2Y program far extends its intended goals. In the five years that the program has been running it has touched the lives of hundreds of refugee minors, educators, facilitators, students and volunteers. It has helped our ACS Athens students shape the way they learn and interact with their society. Our students have grown socially and ethically as global citizens manifesting the ACS Athens student profile attributes. It has helped our 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. Education and humanity have been well served here.