Practices and Approaches of Out-of-School Time Programs Serving Immigrant and Refugee Youth


  • Georgia Hall Wellesley College
  • Michelle V. Porche Wellesley College
  • Jennifer Grossman Wellesley College
  • Sviatlana Smashnaya Wellesley College



Opportunity to participate in an out-of-school time program may be a meaningful support mechanism towards school success and healthy development for immigrant and refugee children. This study extends existing research on best practices by examining the on-the-ground experiences of supporting immigrant and refugee youth in out-of-school time programs. Findings from semi-structured interviews with program directors in 17 Massachusetts and New Hampshire programs suggest a number of program strategies that were responsive to the needs of immigrant and refugee students, including support for the use of native language as well as English, knowing about and celebrating the heritage of the students’ homeland, including on staff or in leadership individuals with shared immigrant background, and giving consideration to the academic priorities of parents. The development of such intentional approaches to working with immigrant and refugee youth during the out-of-school time hours will encourage enrollment of, and enhance effectiveness with, this vulnerable population.






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