Ready in 5 at the YMCA of Greater Omaha
As a popular resettlement city, Omaha has tens of thousands of refugees living in our community. The average refugee in Omaha spends 15 years in refugee camps before they arrive here, but some have spent as many as 30 years.
Refugees face many obstacles once they resettle in America and the assimilation process is ongoing and difficult. They receive government assistance for 90 days, but need support far beyond the resettlement period.
Ready in 5 prepares refugee children and their families for the American school system. In partnership with Heartland Family Service, the Y chooses the largest refugee areas in the city and goes in the homes to provide educational instruction to groups of children, ages 3 to 6, and their parents. The program is offered for no cost.
The goal is to set the refugee families up for success, by teaching children the basic cognitive concepts and social skills they will need to know in order to be successful in kindergarten, and to teach the parents that they are their children’s first teachers.
But the program’s impacts runs much deeper than that. Ready in 5 builds a support system for refugees new to Omaha. It introduces both parents and children to American culture and people. Our program directors even act as a resource, helping parents with daily tasks we take for granted: understanding a bill, making a doctor’s appointment, applying for kindergarten.
Most importantly, Ready in 5 builds confidence and hope for these newcomers as they look toward their future in America.
The Y is committed to strengthening our communities. Ready in 5 is one of the many examples of how we supporting and uplifting our community members every day.
The Y’s Ready in 5 program served 450 refugees in 2016.