The Newcomer Project
Y-Arts & The Boll Family YMCA have created a unique relationship with Freedom House, one of the few North American sanctuaries for global asylum seekers. To help refugees deal with post traumatic stress disorder, we offer customized arts and fitness programs. These programs offer physical, social and creative assistance for this very fragile and transitory community as it awaits entry to the US or Canada.
Most refugees arrive in the USA having undergone stress. Many are suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome. Most arrive with only the clothes on their back, but they bring valuable skills and experience. Many refugees are well educated and want to learn how to adapt to their new country of residence in order to support themselves and their families. They have time on their hands while they wait at freedom House for their immigration status to change. During this time they need to heal, improve their health, learn new skills and begin to understand their new culture.
Y-Arts and the Boll Family YMCA offer customized programs that address these issues and help refugees become strong new citizens of the USA. We are committed to:
- Build employment skills. We offer many beginning and advanced computer courses, ranging from simple ‘introduction to computers’ to advanced film editing. We also teach, among other classes, pottery, clothes design, photography and video courses. Each of these classes is an opportunity to build on old skills or gain new ones.
- Use visual art and creative writing as methods of therapeutic expression. We have direct examples of how helpful visual art and creative writing classes can be in healing wounded souls. Poetry and art work is being created weekly by our guests.
- Utilize the fitness and health facilities of our new BOLL Family YMCA to strengthen the health and fitness of the individuals and families at Freedom House. This includes the use of exercise machines, or yoga and martial arts classes and socializing group activities like basket ball and swimming.
- Build a community of mentors and social groups who will take these new citizen-hopefuls under their wing as they navigate the enigmas of a foreign culture.