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Southern New Hampshire University and YWCA NH Launch New Initiative to Support Local Refugees

The Center for New Americans will offer a variety of services to help refugees and immigrants gain access to education

Manchester, NH (August 30, 2017) - Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is teaming up with YWCA NH to open the SNHU Center for New Americans at YWCA NH to help local refugees and immigrant populations gain access to education and other support services in New Hampshire. The Center will provide credentialed ESOL programming, mentorship and coaching, college preparation, cultural orientation, and college-level courses and degrees out of the YWCA NH location in Manchester.

"We know that talent is distributed equally, but opportunity is not. At SNHU, we are trying to change that unfortunate reality," said Paul LeBlanc, president, SNHU. "The Center for New Americans reinforces our commitment to the local community and we are proud to be working with YWCA NH to help more refugees and immigrant populations in the state gain access to the support systems and services they need to transform their lives through education."

SNHU and YWCA NH worked together with local community partners to identify gaps in services for refugee and immigrant populations and developed a robust suite of services to provide these populations with the encouragement, resources, and education they need to thrive in the greater New Hampshire community.

The Center, which will be staffed by SNHU employees and volunteers, with support from YWCA NH staff members, will offer:

  • College preparation and counseling, including financial literacy courses and FAFSA and college application support;
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes and preparation services so that students can work towards taking the TOEFL exam and obtaining certification;
  • College-level courses, using the University's online and competency-based degree program to offer pathways to a college degree;
  • Cultural orientation to help refugee and immigrant populations gain cultural competencies and an understanding of U.S. traditions, customs, and laws; and
  • Mentorship and coaching services for local immigrant and refugee populations of all ages to help overcome roadblocks to success.

SNHU also donated funds to build out and renovate a physical space for the Center at YWCA NH's Manchester location. The Center will include a new study room, renovated gymnasium, a conference room, and an upgrade to the IT infrastructure, including a set of new laptops, to help support online learning for constituents.

"YWCA NH has a long tradition of serving and supporting refugee and immigrant populations dating back to the early 1920s, and we're thrilled to partner with SNHU to continue to build on those traditions and help more of our local community members realize their version of the American Dream," said Jessica Sugrue, CEO, YWCA NH. "The SNHU Center for New Americans at YWCA NH will not only help refugees and immigrant populations gain access to education, it will also empower them to change their lives, and give them the skills and confidence they need to engage with, and give back to their communities in a meaningful way."

In addition to the Center, SNHU is working with MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer's community outreach initiative and the U.S. Soccer Foundation to build a new soccer mini-pitch in Manchester. The mini-pitch will give children in Manchester a safe place to play, and provide several local youth groups currently working with refugee and immigrant children with a place to host their programming. SNHU is working with local officials and community groups to determine location and timeline.

Construction for the SNHU Center for New Americans at the YWCA NH, which will be managed by Fulcrum Associates, will begin in mid-September and is expected to be completed by November. SNHU and YWCA NH expect to officially open the Center and will begin programming in early 2018.

About Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a private, nonprofit institution with an 85-year history of educating traditional-aged students and working adults. Now serving more than 85,000 students worldwide, SNHU offers over 200 accredited undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs, available online and on its 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH. Recognized as the "Most Innovative" regional university by U.S. News & World Report and one of the fastest-growing universities in the country, SNHU is committed to expanding access to high quality, affordable pathways that meet the needs of each student. Learn more at www.snhu.edu.

About YWCA NH
YWCA NH (YW) is part of an international, multifaceted social service agency that was founded in 1858, and has had a fully functioning association in the greater Manchester area since 1920, located in its current location since 1928. We currently serve about 2,700 individuals annually and offer an array of social justice programs that focus on domestic violence prevention and response, youth education, community education and outreach and empowerment. YWCA NH remains committed to our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women through peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Learn more at http://www.ywcanh.org/.

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