Refugee youth come from different war-torn countries. However, just being relocated to a safe place does not undo the trauma of conflict. The Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center (RHTAC) reports 50-90% of children and adolescents often have higher levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Risk factors for the development of mental health problems include the number of traumas, delayed asylum application process, detention, and the loss of culture and support systems.
As refugee youth settle into their new community and school, they often adapt easier to American culture than their parents, which can cause a generational rift within families. Refugee parents are slower to adapt to American culture, which furthers the rift. This dynamic leaves youth susceptible to bad influences, mental health issues, substance mis-use, and overall lack of direction.
Overcomers’ Youth Program meets frequently under the guidance of Overcomers' staff and volunteers. The program provides a safe place and network of peers and trusted adults to build relationships with. Refugee youth learn teamwork, cooperation, participation, responsibility, and are empowered to advocate for themselves by suggesting topics and programs that are of interest to them.
Recent programs have included:
Addressing community issues
Interacting with law enforcement
Visiting the NH Supreme Court and meeting with Chief Justice Gordon MacDonald
Our Women's Group is focused on helping refugee women identify what they want for themselves and figuring out how to get there, to explore and improve their skills, to make good decisions, and how to live together, so they can have a better future in New Hampshire.
This group is mostly self-sufficient and run by the women participants. Together, they share their experiences and provide support for each other.
Overcomers supports periodic women’s events to promote self-reliance, foster cross-cultural connections, improve understanding of American culture and to celebrate traditions of the countries of origin.
The following activities occurred in the past year:
February: A discussion was held on the topic of peace and reconciliation facilitated by our Executive Director, Clement Kigugu.
March: A representative from DHHS spoke to the women about changes to Medicaid and SNAP benefits.
March (second session): A representative from NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) spoke to the women about mental wellness and services in NH.
April: The women received information from a representative of Merrimack County Savings Bank regarding the importance of banking and savings.
June: The women were guests of the NH 6th District Court. They learned about the NH family court system from judges and representatives of the court. Members of the NH Women’s Bar Association gather donations of personal care items which were given to the women.
July: A representative from Bangor Savings Bank presented on financial literacy.
August: Students and faculty from Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center spoke to women about preventative health and did blood pressure screenings.
October: A representative from MCSB spoke to the group about savings programs and investments.
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