ASTEP at Refugee Youth Summer Academy

RYSA_2011_Tenzin-and-TenzinSince 2010, ASTEP has led the creative arts component of the IRC’s Refugee Youth Summer Academy (RYSA) in partnership with the International Rescue Committee, which supports the personal growth, cultural adjustment, and education of refugee youth and helps them successfully transition into the NYC school system.

Through a team of 16-18 Volunteer Teaching Artists, ASTEP designs, implements and oversees RYSA’s creative arts classes, which focus on visual art, dance, music, and storytelling for 100-130 refugee youth aged 5-25 years old. RYSA is a six-week summer camp, held five days a week from July – August; from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and culminates in a graduation ceremony and performance for students’ families and their community.

Our arts education classes allow youth affected by immigration status to break down the barriers they face by improving abilities they require to create a new life for themselves in their new home:

  • English language skills
  • Academic abilities
  • Social and emotional skills
  • Community ties
  • Capacity for self-expression

In addition, our volunteers serve as trusted adult role models, mentors, and educators who guide refugee youth in making healthy decisions about their futures.

+ Visit Get Involved to learn more about becoming an ASTEP Volunteer Teaching Artist!


International Rescue Committee is on the ground in more than 40 countries, providing emergency relief, relocating refugees, and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster. Through 22 IRC locations in cities across the United States, we help refugees resettle in the U.S. and become self-sufficient.