Click here to see the story…. And a big thank you to Seth Albaum, who made this happen! 🙂
Here is a story written by Gordon College student, Stephanie Goethner about the GORP program which NAC students attended on April 16. Be sure to check out “Our Faces” page for more pictures!
GORP Challenges Lynn Students to Try New Things
“Holy cow!” “That looks scary.” “Look how high that is, I’m not going up there.” These were some of the echoes of the New American Center students as they arrived to the ropes course one frigid, April, Saturday morning. Despite the cold, by the end of the day, the students changed to yelling words of encouragement to their friends up in the trees.
The New American Center, a coalition of seven different non-profits serving the refugee and immigrant population of Lynn, MA, spent a day in the GORP program at Gordon College’s ropes course. They were nervous coming with numerous cultural and language barriers. Through trust building and encouragement, the students were able to challenge themselves and have a great time in the process.
“The students were expecting a cold, boring day in the woods with no iPods or Internet and were terrified of being up so high,” said chaperone Farah Ahmad. “But after explaining the amount of support one climber needs on the ground in order to succeed in the air, they decided to try it. Now, they are more confident to challenge themselves and to try new things.”
GORP stands for the “Gordon Outdoor Recreation Project” and designs challenge course experiences and adventure learning opportunities for youth and young adult programs. Through games, goal-setting, trust-building, initiatives and low-ropes course, high ropes course, and debriefing and reflection, GORP encourages team building and challenge by choice.
“GORP gives individuals a task that can only be completed by working together,” said Matt Dischinger, small group leader for GORP. “Being confronted by a daunting challenge forces people to look past the self and rely on others. It was a great day with the New American Center. They came with an open mind, ready to have fun and learn.”
GORP is an affiliate program of the La Vida Center for Outdoor Education at Gordon College, Wenham, MA. For 40 years, the La Vida Center has offered quality programs for churches, schools, businesses, and youth organizations in New England and beyond. These unique programs provide experiential education and adventure learning to foster character formation and leadership development to prepare youth for life.
Here is a video from Lynn’s Daily Item:
Searching for articles about New American Center, I came across a few that are a year or more old. This is why we need to get more out there about the NAC!
There is still room to join the 5-day-a-week programs for refugee youth of Lynn at the New American Center. Middle and high school students have been coming to the New American Center to receive after-school help for the past eight years. These youth are refugees, new to the United States, from various countries including: Sudan, Somalia, Liberia, Burundi, Burma, Bhutan, Nepal, Iraq, Belarus, and more.
Programs range from ESL and homework help to art programs such as guitar and photography lessons. Every Monday through Thursday afternoons, students can come between the hours of 3 and 5 to practice their English, socialize with peers from their own or different cultures, and get help with their homework.
On Saturdays from 12-2 p.m., students are able to use the computer lab and get help with their job searches, college applications, and homework. There are also guitar lessons available and kids will enjoy lots of soccer on the Lynn Commons when the weather warms up.
“We typically have about 25 kids who come to our weekly academic programs and out of those 25 there are so many different countries represented. That makes my job very interesting and so much fun!” said Becky, coordinator of youth programs under the Russian Community Association of MA, one of the member agencies of the NAC.
Although there are 25 students that attend the 5 days of programs, about 115 are enrolled in the program as a whole, evidence of Lynn’s high refugee population.
Forming the NAC is a coalition of 7 partner agencies which all serve refugees and immigrants in Lynn. These organizations are all located in downtown Lynn in the JB Blood Building at 20 Wheeler Street.