ATLANTA – Mercer University College of Education researchers completed a yearlong study sponsored by AmeriCorps that highlights the important work being done by four Metro Atlanta programs that work with immigrant and refugee youth.

A public forum will be held to share the results of the study March 17, 7-8:30 p.m., at Refuge Coffee in Clarkston. RSVPs are requested at atlanta@ndmva.org.

The research team, consisting of Dr. Rob Helfenbein and doctoral student Erica Warren, conducted a process evaluation with Notre Dame Mission Volunteers AmeriCorps (NDMVA) programs in Atlanta during the 2020-2021 academic year.

NDMVA partners with community organizations in efforts to improve academic achievement and increase student engagement within under-resourced communities.

The four NDMVA programs evaluated for this study – Catholic Charities, Global Village Project,  the International Rescue Committee and the Agape Center – focus on immigrant and refugee youth through a variety of efforts supplemented by AmeriCorps members.

Evaluation consisted of focus groups and program observations conducted via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was wonderful to learn about the great work these organizations are doing with immigrant/newcomer youth in Atlanta. We found that these programs were aligned with best practices from the research and, importantly, their preexisting positive relationships with the communities they serve allowed them to pivot effectively during the COVID pandemic,” said Dr. Helfenbein, professor of curriculum studies and associate dean for research and faculty affairs.

About the College of Education

Mercer University’s Tift College of Education – with campuses in Macon, Atlanta and the University’s two regional academic centers – prepares more professional educators than any other private institution in Georgia. Named for the former women’s college that merged with Mercer in 1986, the College of Education offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and is guided by the conceptual framework of the “Transforming Educator,” which supports those who aspire to grow professionally throughout their careers, while also seeking to transform the lives of students. For more information, visit education.mercer.edu.

Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​