Twenty-five percent of U.S. children are children of immigrants or refugees. There are 20 million children in the U.S. with at least one immigrant parent.
These children are more likely to struggle in school and more likely to live in poverty. Not knowing English, poverty and little access to early childhood education are all roadblocks along their path to reaching their potential.
Now, one young woman is working to change that, starting a grassroots effort to prepare kids to make the most out of their American dream.
Sixteen-year-old Alexis Dorman works hard to make sure every child knows their rights.
“I found a niche for helping refugees and immigrants,” said Alexis Dorman, founder of CAFYIR, which gathers multilingual student volunteers to hold workshops and give online tutorials.
“I speak fluent Portuguese and somewhat Spanish,” said Gabriel Gomes, a 12th-grade volunteer.
“I speak English, Urdu and then some Arabic,” said Sara Ejaz, an 11th-grade volunteer.
Dorman put in 1,000 hours developing a curriculum focused on elementary-aged immigrants.
“We build trust and bonds and friendships,” Gomes said.
“They can find kids who are experiencing the same things they are in school,” said Emily Dorman, Alexis’ sister and a volunteer.
Broadening these young minds on what the future can hold for them.
“Making sure that they're aware that there are opportunities for them to go to college and a technical school,” Alexis Dorman said.
Her pilot programs are already seeing results.
“I believe that it is detrimental because we're building their character,” said Kristy Key, principal of Vista Lakes Elementary.
“That’s what’s CAFYIR is all about. Helping kids become successful in the future,” Gomes said.
“I hope I can help make a difference in their life,” Ejaz said.
“It's important that we bring our ideas together and advocate for peace amongst refugees and immigrants,” Dorman said.
It’s projected that by the year 2040, 1 in every 3 children in the United States will grow up in an immigrant household. The majority right now are from Latin America, with Asian immigrants representing the second largest group.
If you would like to check out the tutorials for your child, you can find them on YouTube at CAFYIR.