The Impact of the Programs
The impact on the unaccompanied minors
In its first three program cycles, the Youth-to-Youth Educational and Social Integration program with its two strands has served a total of 96 refugee students and has seen the participation of 124 ACS Athens volunteer students, and 60 faculty and staff. In the first three iterations of the program, the Youth-to-Youth program has gained a reputation among organizations involved in the refugee crisis in Greece, who have seen firsthand the impact of the program on the youth involved.
The impact on the unaccompanied minors is evident with the job placement of four Part-time Y2Y and B2Y students, now above the age of 18, in the Tourism industry since May 2018. The ability to design a future academic path, to desire the acquisition of educational qualifications and to think optimistically about the future is probably the most meaningful impact of the Y2Y Educational and Social Integration.
Almost all of the programs’ students applied for a position of the 18 Full-time -Y2Y- program scholarships offered by the Shapiro Foundation. This confirms the feeling of trust, hope and courage expressed frequently in their written and oral reflections. This positive life outlook was transferred to the homes of the children where the HOME Project professionals, fully aligned with the educational philosophy of the Y2Y Educational and Social Integration programs, also support, encourage and motivate the students to strive for academic, professional and social success.
The impact on ACS Athens students
124 ACS Athens students have been involved in the Youth-to-Youth Educational and Social Integration Programs since January 2017 serving more than120 unaccompanied minors residing in The HOME Project shelters. ACS Athens students reflected on their learning from the Youth-to-Youth Programs:
Elena and Fotis:
After this experience, I appreciate the things I have in my life and I feel thankful for meeting these people
I had the opportunity to come in contact with people with very different experiences and I realized how privileged I am.
Another student reflects on the change of perspective:
What I have discovered is that the perspective I had for the refugees prior to the project was completely wrong. This perspective was entirely shaped by the media and was very much influenced by the current events that portrayed the refuges are very poor and uneducated people that came to Greece only as a gateway to a different life. What I was shocked, but was also pleased to discover was that the refugee children are no different than me, or any other of my peers. The only difference is that these children have firsthand experience of real destruction; losing their parents and homes and having to come to a foreign country without anyone to help them. While this experience might haunt them for the rest of their lives I was very happy to see them have fun and helping them adjust in this new environment.