How resettled students learn English in the Akron Public Schools 

by Megan McSweeney Loi Dang-Nguyen is the English as a second language and foreign language learning specialist in the Akron Public Schools. For her, the job is personal. Coming from Vietnam in the ‘70s, she and her family were some of the first refugees to be resettled in Akron.  “My goal is to make sure that our refugees and immigrants do have access so that they will continue to excel,” Dang-Nguyen said. According to the U.S. Department of Education, all school-aged children have a right to public education, regardless of immigration status. Lacking documents, such as birth certificates and social...

Addressing mental health challenges refugee children face

By Brianna Canada Many refugee children live in North Hill and attend school together. Photo by Andrew Kuder Refugee children not only help to shape their community by helping their parents adapt to American culture, but they also educate non-refugee children and teens about refugee cultures and countries.  School, friends, and being social can be stressful on any child. Refugee children experience a unique set of circumstances that add to the stress they already feel to fit in.  Rollin Mukanza, a social worker and community coordinator at the International Institute of Akron, helps refugee children adjust to American culture. A...

Following the money trail from Washington, D.C. to Akron

By Trista Bowser and London Green Twenty-four thousand refugees have relocated in Ohio over the past decade, more than all but seven other states. Nonprofit organizations use federal and privately donated funds to resettle refugees. State Refugee Coordinator Jennifer Johnson oversees all the different aspects of refugee resettlement, from how many refugees Ohio receives every year to how much money Ohio receives for refugees. “All of our funding is federal funding,” explained Johnson. “There's no state funding involved.” Johnson explains that each state receives money from the Office of Refugee Resettlement. There, various resettlement agencies in Ohio enter into grant...