The mission of the African Community Education Program (ACE) is to assist African refugee and immigrant youth in realizing their educational, cultural and social goals, while guiding them in becoming competent, responsible and productive citizens in the Worcester, Massachusetts area as well as the greater society.
African Community Education (ACE) is a grassroots, non-profit organization serving African refugees and immigrants as they transition into the Worcester, MA, community. Our vision is to help African refugee and immigrant youth to achieve academic success, offer our students opportunities for cultural exchange with other African youth, and to help parents and families work towards self-sufficiency as a platform for student success.
ACE provides academic, psychosocial and cultural programming to youth in grades 5-12 who attend Worcester Public Schools (WPS). We have developed a strong partnership with WPS, which provides ACE with rent-free space in a public school building for all programming.
ACE serves as a bridge between students’ African heritage and American schools and society. It is a culturally familiar place where students can develop confidence, self-sufficiency, and healthy social skills, while filling in educational gaps acquired in refugee camps or their home countries.
We provide outreach support to our students' families, helping parents to communicate with their child's school, access needed services, and maintain family stability. We also provide adult English language and U.S. citizenship classes, one-on-one youth mentoring, and a summer program for youth.
One of our greatest strengths has been our ability to involve members of the local African community in ACE as staff, Board members, and volunteers. For example, our four outreach workers are members of the four major ethnic communities represented at ACE: Somalia, Burundi, Central African Republic and Liberia.
ACE grew out of a tutoring program for Liberian youth run by University of Massachusetts Medical School students and Catholic Charities Worcester County staff. Dr. Olga Valdman, then a medical student, and Kaska Yawo of Catholic Charities, recognized that the boys and girls needed far more help than the afternoon tutoring program could provide. In 2006, they came up with the idea for ACE, a comprehensive academic and psychosocial program that would help African youth to catch up in school, graduate and accomplish their goals.
Yawo and Valdman talked with leaders in the local African community and went door-to-door to invite students to attend ACE. Partnering with Worcester Public Schools, ACE launched a Saturday School in Fall 2006 with remedial math and English classes, tutoring and extracurricular activities. We also continued to offer the original after-school tutoring sessions. In 2009, ACE expanded to include an Outreach Department to help students’ families access needed services and benefits, communicate with their children’s schools, and meet basic needs.
- Year established:2006
- Organization type:Grantseeker
- Country of registration:United States
- Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
- IRS Section:501(c)(3)
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Types of funding being sought (i.e. funding type)
- None specified
Program areas of focus and activity (i.e. funding cause)
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Geographic areas of focus and activity (i.e. geographic area)
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