2019 Kickball for a Cause donations are supporting Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education (ARYSE). ARYSE supports immigrant and refugee youth to become prepared, engaged, and confident members of the Greater Pittsburgh community. Supporting recently arrived refugees in achieving confidence through learning, creativity, and exploration.
ARYSE began in 2013 as a grassroots effort led by local refugee youth and college students to ensure that immigrant and refugee youth living in Allegheny County were not left behind. Most ARYSE students have experienced a long and stressful process of migration to the States, and the goal is to ensure that when they arrive, they are greeted with the warmth, community, and support they deserve.
“Over 6 years later, I believe our work has focused and deepened the conversation across our region, and especially among immigrant-serving agencies, about the needs, challenges, strengths, and aspirations of refugee and immigrant youth in our communities.” says Jenna Baron, Executive Director. “It is a real privilege to work and organize alongside immigrant and refugee youth in our communities. The work is as simple as creating spaces that are built intentionally to celebrate and honor the voices of our students and allow them to take ownership of what happens in programming that is meant to help them achieve their goals.”
The signature program of ARYSE is Pittsburgh Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment (PRYSE) Academy, a three-week summer program for refugee and immigrant youth that combines academic curricula, creative expression workshops, team-building activities, field trips, and soccer programming. PRYSE helps participants develop literacy skills, build personal confidence, prepare for the school year, and deepen their sense of belonging.
This summer, over 80 middle and high school immigrant youth will make up the 7th class of PRYSE Academy, which will help them enrich their present and dream for their future. “Duquesne University and their amazing staff and faculty are going above and beyond to host us in hopes that our students find their campus to be a welcoming space they can envision themselves attending in the future.” 15 of our program alumni will work as counselors or counselors-in-training.
Along with PRYSE Academy, ARYSE also connects with youth through 2 after school programs, a support group for immigrant teen women, and their Youth Steering Committee. “Our students represent over 15 different immigrant communities, they are taking their place as leaders within our programs and throughout the region, and are even establishing their own coalitions and groups to activate the change they seek in their communities.” says Baron
Why We’re Important to Young Pittsburgh:
Baron explains it best, “Simply put, immigrant and refugee communities are AMAZING! We are so lucky that Pittsburgh is a destination for so many new Americans and that they choose to build their families and achieve their dreams in our region. Our students have so many unique talents and experiences, and have so many creative ideas about how to make a community stronger and more just. There is so much opportunity to make our communities safer and more inclusive of immigrants and refugees. When we do, we cultivate a diverse and desirable place for everyone to live.”
ARYSE understands that real-life factors like poverty, discrimination, cultural misunderstandings, and systemic inequities stand in the way of young people feeling a sense of belonging and achieving their full potential. They work hard to ensure that the Pittsburgh region is different.
The money raised at this year’s Kickball for a Cause event will aid the ARYSE after school program, which will kick off its 3rd school year in October of 2019. The after school club serves 60+ newly arrived refugee youth. Not only do participants access help to complete their homework and improve upon their literacy skills, they build positive relationships and communities among a diverse group of their peers. We believe this program is essential to providing a soft landing for refugee youth who often struggle in their transition to Pittsburgh.
Even if you are unable to attend this year’s event, you can still donate to Kickball for a Cause to support ARYSE and their efforts here in the community.
There are also many ways for you to get involved with the organization. Come see the students’ work in action and hear their stories at the PRYSE Final Showcase on Saturday, August 3rd at Duquesne University.
Follow ARYSE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates and information. They are always looking for mentors for their after school program. Visit https://www.arysepgh.org/contact and let them know you want to help!