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Unite with Refugee Youth in RVA

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R.E.A.L. (Refugee/Exercise/Academics/Leadership) is an after-school program in Richmond, VA that serves 55 refugee youth.

“This is more than a sports program. This is a true community builder and confidence booster for our students.

"Our English as a Second Language refugee students hail from a variety of countries including Afghanistan, Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. Before the after school sports program began, the students were shy to engage with students from different linguistic backgrounds. Once the program became established and the students had attended a few after school sessions, the students developed burgeoning, new friendships with one another. We observed our Afghan and Rwandan students hold hands in the hallway. Older students looked out for the younger students. Lastly, the female and male students felt more comfortable and participated more easily in cooperative learning activities in class with one another. On the Thursdays following the Soccer After School sessions, the students happily and proudly shared about their experiences at the soccer program the night before.

"This program not only teaches the students sports, it teaches them English. It teaches the students how to be a fair team player who shows sportsmanship and works together; empowers them when they have endured so much in their short lives; and provides them with a path for success.” - Testimonial from ESL Teacher

We use sports as a way to support physical and mental health, as well as academic guidance in the forms of reading groups and tutoring. Many of our families are confined to a cycle of work and school, as transportation is limited and the costs of sports programs and private tutoring sessions are outside of their means. R.E.A.L. aims to create a more unified and inclusive Richmond community.

Our mission is to use sports and education as tools for positive development and change, providing refugee youth an avenue for personal growth and inclusion. In order to serve our youth for the next year, we must be able to fund sports equipment, academic supplies, transportation costs, community event admission, staff time, and program expansion efforts.

Unite with R.E.A.L. and help us make Richmond a more unified and inclusive city!

*Withdrawals will be made through a personal bank account of Ashley Zehrt, Founder & Co-Director of R.E.A.L., who will be resposible for distributing the funds from that account to fund sports equipment, academic supplies, transportation costs, community event admission, and staff time.


Ashley Elizabeth
Tuckahoe, VA

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