Ashley Ramirez

Ashley Ramirez – Summer San Diego Refugee Tutoring Day Camp

The Summer San Diego Refugee Tutoring Day Camp addresses two main issues: elementary school aged resettled refugee schema building and youth leadership development. Living in City Heights, San Diego we see violence, drug abuse, homelessness, and poverty among other challenges. Our community’s high school graduation rate is 56%, which is 32% lower than the national average. We, the high school students, will lead day camps for our young resettled refugee friends. We will create safe spaces for all of us to learn and grow. This helps us be accountable to our success as we know our young friends will look up to us. There are no other high school groups in San Diego who are leading day camps for elementary aged resettled refugees. As we plan and execute our day camp, we learn about budgets, creating action plans, and community organizing. We are creating opportunities for us as the youth of our neighborhood to be the change we want to see.

We want to help cultivate the ideal world where everyone contributes and gives back to their communities. It starts with us, now. We don’t have to wait until we are adults to help make a difference. We are role models to our campers; they see what we do and know they can do it too.

Through our day camp, we expose our campers to various lifestyles, environments and experiences. We expand their perspectives. Practically, our campers learn how things work, practice more English, and see their lives as bigger than their streets by going on field trips.

Our lives are changed too. We see ourselves as leaders. We learn how to lead children, how to discipline, how to speak publicly and how to care about someone besides ourselves. We don’t have all the answers but are learning and doing the work. We are youth who are filling out a grant!

During Mission Week 2017, we gave gift bags to each recently resettled refugee who was part of our day camp. The gift bags included much needed school supplies. We also used the money to provide nutritious vegan meals like bean tostadas, topped with fresh pico de gallo and lettuce, served with fruit on the side. We exposed our campers to new culinary cuisine from different nations and expanded their little taste buds! During Mission Week 2018, we upgrades our gift bags to EDUCATIONAL gift bags! We included math flashcards, word puzzles, chess or checker board, and various art supplies. A new addition was using some of the money for gas because we went on two field trips! One trip was to the beach for water safety with the San Diego lifeguards and another trip was to a local marine life/wild habitat nature center!

Our goal is to have greater impact each year. Receiving this larger follow up award allows us to help our young resettled refugee friends (our campers) build schema- building their critical thinking and interpretative skills. We did research and spoke to their elementary school teachers and aids. They informed us that summer time is an important time for students to build schema and vocabulary via new experiences and field trips to new locations! The award will increase our ability to take our campers to more field trips. Since, we are mostly minors, we can use the award to rent charter buses, provide healthy vegan lunches, pay for any museum admission costs and purchase necessary supplies.

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