Worthy Causes: The Refugee Empowerment Program
Science Naturally is honored that our series 65 Science and Math Mysteries Collection makes an appearance in the STEAM curriculum of an amazing organization called The Refugee Empowerment Program (REP). We think you STEM- and book- lovers will want to hear all about the great work REP is doing.
About Refugee Empowerment Program
In 2002, a recently arrived refugee in Memphis spoke out about the exceptional need for educational support in the refugee community, and for the need of increased connection between the refugee and American communities. As this woman struggled to balance the new demands of employment, learning a new language, and acclimating to a new culture, she saw that the struggles of others in her community were nearly identical to her own, and that Memphians seemed relatively oblivious to their plight.
Out of this concern grew a collaborative of Americans and refugees interested in improving the educational welfare and support of refugees. Starting with twelve children and two volunteers, REP has since grown into a staff of three serving a community of over 400 individuals alongside hundreds of volunteers each year. A commitment to provide quality programs led REP to become an operational program of the Memphis Leadership Foundation in October in 2007.
REP's after-school program for refugee children helps them develop their English skills, adjust socially, and provides homework help. REP does more than a traditional after school program; they support English Language Learners and encourage their students to have conversations and practice their English, as well as helping them understand idioms that are not easily translated. Over time, they've expanded to provide tutoring, homework help, ACT prep, peer mentors, and support for first generation college students.
REP, Science Naturally, and First Book
REP partners with First Book, an organization that provides quality materials at an affordable price to qualifying organizations. Cam Echols, one of the founding members of REP, is a huge First Book fan. She appreciates how the low cost of First Book products allows grassroots organizations like REP to stretch their dollars and allocate funds where they can be most useful.
First Book is how REP found Science Naturally's 65 Science and Math Mysteries Collection.
They purchased these books in December of 2015, when they were developing a STEAM program for their students. REP staff note that the "A" in STEAM — Art — is particularly important to the children in their program. They used these books in developing their curriculum, and eventually sent the books home with individual students to help build their home libraries because REP knows that having books in the home is essential!
How You Can Help
You can support the great work the REP does by making a donation on their website.
A gift of $10 supports healthy snacks for a child in the Pre-K readiness program for one week. A gift of $50 supports one adult learning English for one year. Even a small donation goes a long way towards helping this refugee community, so please do what you can and help us spread the word about this worthy cause!
If you are in the Memphis area, REP also offers many different volunteer opportunities. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please fill out their volunteer application here.
We thank you.