Through the use of PhotoVoice, the EMPOWerment and rEsilience pRogram (EMPOWER), centers adolescents’ voices, ideas, and priorities in research efforts. EMPOWER generates evidence on how these students are faring and how to successfully navigate and address the taboo/stigma around mental health in Arab/Muslim communities. The program helps to identify critical supports and services to help students better transition and thrive in the US and their new schools that are culturally relevant, sensitive, and accepted by student immigrants and refugees and their families. This facilitation guide provides detailed guidance on how to conduct the EMPOWER program with youth.
To receive a copy of the full manual, click here.
The U.S. is currently resettling more than 55,000 Afghans, with an additional 125,000 refugees from around the world expected to arrive by the end of next year. Because a large proportion of newcomers are school-aged children, American schools will be essential in welcoming these newcomers, as we have learned as public health researchers studying the adjustment and wellbeing of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.
With schools across the country preparing for these new arrivals amid continued fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, we share key insights we have learned from speaking with hundreds of high school students and family members, school faculty and staff, district leaders, and civil society representatives over the past four years.
Although our participants in Detroit; Chicago; Harrisonburg, Va.; and Austin, Texas, were from Arab-majority countries such as Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon—countries with vastly different historical, cultural and sociopolitical contexts from Afghanistan—what we have learned may be useful to educators eager to welcome newcomers fleeing the fallout of U.S. wars overseas.