The Refugee New Arrival School
The Refugee New Arrival School was developed in the late 1990s to meet the needs of refugees living in Guilford County. Although there were many English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs in Greensboro, employees at Lutheran Family Services and Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) determined that there was a large segment of the refugee population unable to access the available ESOL programs.
One major barrier for refugee families was that parents (especially mothers) could not attend classes due to their childcare responsibilities. The New Arrival School (NAS) was developed through a partnership with GTCC, Grace Community Church, and the NC State Refugee Assistance Program (RAP) contract as a place where families could come together to learn English and participate in employment readiness and cultural orientation programs.
The NAS operates five days a week for 3.25 hours per day. There are currently five adult classes and two early childhood transitional classes. In addition to our adult classes, we also have employment readiness classes and cultural orientation seminars every week. GTCC provides the adult ESOL instructors, the church houses the program and LFS administrates the program including day to day operations, development and implementation of the cultural orientation and employment classes, enrollment of adult students, and operation of the early childhood transitional classes.
English Language Training beyond the New Arrivals School
In addition to the New Arrival School, the English Language Training Program also includes a variety of classes in satellite locations around Greensboro. These classes include ESOL, cultural orientation, health literacy, employment classes, and individual educational counseling.
The importance of both the NAS and satellite classes cannot be over-emphasized as learning English, employment skills, and community orientation are vital to the success and self-sufficiency of refugees in Guilford County.
Unlike other refugee programs that are only able to work with refugees for the first five years they have lived in the USA, the English Language Training (ELT) program is able to work with students until they become US Citizens. The ELT program is vitally important as it is often the only resource available to long-term residents needing assistance and therefore has worked to develop courses that teach clients how to meet their employment and societal needs.
Why start the New Arrivals Institute?
In the past, the ELT program has striven to meet all the educational needs of clients in Guilford County, but being part of a larger organization it has at times been unable to develop new programs or apply for grants. Due to many circumstances including our current economic downturn, the English Language Training program learned in early 2010 that significant changes to the refugee program in Guilford County were inevitable. Although changes can be painful, they can also be a new beginning giving the Guilford County residents (refugee and non-refugee) the opportunity to look with fresh eyes at the current program and determine how the current programs need to be changed to better meet current client needs.
After much prayer, deliberation, and conversations with community partners one theme kept appearing: "Why don't we start a non-profit that will have the flexibility to not only apply for grants but will be able to quickly develop and implement programs to meet the needs of refugees and immigrants?" The idea of the New Arrivals Institute was born. The New Arrivals Institute will be not only a resource for and educate refugees and immigrants, but will also serve as a resource to the community at large about refugees and immigrants and their issues.
New Arrivals Institute assists refugees and immigrants with self-sufficiency and US Citizenship through education.
New Arrivals Institute provides assistance to achieve self sufficiency through English Language Training, Employment Readiness, Health Education, Educational Counseling, Community Orientation, Citizenship Preparedness, and Early Childhood Transitional Classes. The institute acts as a community liaison to educate individuals and community partners about newly arrived refugees and immigrants, and the services available to them.