Duke students and refugee youth connect through Kenan

Sunny skies and warm temperatures offered an opportunity for camaraderie and play among Duke students and local refugee children April 4 as part of the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Mentorship, Academics, and Self-esteem: Tutoring and Engaging with Refugee Youth program.

The weekly program, which hosts about 50 local youth from kindergarten through high school, offers unique learning opportunities for both volunteers and kids. Duke undergraduates provide mentoring, tutoring – and when the weather calls for it – a space in which to bond and play. In turn, Duke students gain greater awareness of global issues, presented in a tangible way. Local children participating this semester include kids from Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Syria and Vietnam.

“Tutors have the chance to have a direct impact on a kid’s life and educational trajectory while learning about their stories and personalities,” said senior Olivia Johnson, who organizes MASTERY. “It’s a chance to break out of the daily routine of studying at school to meet new people and perspectives, which I think is truly valuable. It’s also just really fun.”

During the latest meeting, the group played catch, hula hooped and scored on portable soccer goals. Throughout the year, activities also include creative art projects, celebrations of holidays from different cultures, academic achievement, and community building.

For more information about the program, visit its website.