AYCO’s family services take a multi-pronged approach to providing parents with the tools necessary to strive as a family unit and as members of the broader community. AYCO was founded by and continues to be driven by many members of the immigrant and refugee communities it serves. As a result, family supports are rooted in shared experience and community building. We foster integration supports that are guided by the community, closely reflecting the immediate concerns and existing capacity of these communities.
AYCO families participate in:
ESL classes: We host free ESL classes that are intentional about integrating participants who have disabilities and their families. Our teachers empower community members to learn English and gain confidence in their capacity to communicate with others.
- Community engagement:
– Parent engagement: AYCO hosts parent groups that promote understanding of school expectations, the needs of their children, and strengthening the capacity for adaptation while also reflecting important cultural identities.
– Informational exchange: AYCO hosts information meetings to facilitate an exchange of important information related to law enforcement, school expectations, healthcare, rights and responsibilities, etc. These meetings are viewed as a two-way exchange of information as well as cultural implications, strengths and challenges of immigrant communities.
– Community Chai and Dialogue: Around the world many people gather to socialize over tea, or chai. AYCO hosts regular gathering of immigrant and mainstream communities to get to know one another while sharing chai and engaging in dialogue and conversation.
- Cultural bridge supports: A consistent stream of newcomers from East Africa flow through the AYCO office seeking assistance with reading mail, understanding forms from school and doctors, communicating with landlords, immigration offices, employers, teachers, law enforcement, benefit offices, and so many U.S. institutions that are unfamiliar and often unfriendly toward those with limited English.