Soccer: The Gateway
Soccer, the world’s favorite sport, gives Fugees players what they rarely find in school: a sense of achievement, freedom and pleasure. Coached by Fugees founder Luma Mufleh and current high school Fugees, the children play with skill, discipline and passion. Soccer communication is “all English,” accelerating their facility with the language of their new home. Currently 86 boys and girls, play on one of six Fugees soccer teams. They come from 23 different homelands. Our club teams are coed so that the girls and boys learn to play together. Each player agrees to The Fugees Family Contract, which sets the rules, spells out unacceptable behaviors like fighting, and states the consequences. Players know that it is a privilege to play soccer and that in order to play in games, they must pass their schoolwork.
In 2012, we started a coaching program for our older players. They learn leadership and community service by coaching younger players. They're chosen based on their abilities to connect with the younger players and the leadership they've shown in their school and communities. Younger players see their student coaches as role models, allowing our successful older students to mentor the younger student athletes. As Fugees Academy blossomed, we developed competitive middle and high school soccer programs. Our students play other independent schools in the region. This allows the Fugees Academy to be a player in Atlanta's independent school community.
After School Tutoring
Two afternoons a week, every Fugees student attends tutoring sessions led by Americorps members and other committed volunteers who help with homework, special assignments, and preparation for tests. For many students, it can be difficult to concentrate on homework when they're at home. Tutoring offers a space for students to ask questions and complete their assignments before they go home for the evening. Language skills are also emphasized, and all communication is in English.
Summer Academic Bootcamp
In partnership with Agnes Scott College, The Fugees Family operates a summer academic program for all Fugees focused on language and math, the arts, and physical fitness. The curriculum was developed by Agnes Scott Professor of Education,Toby Emert especially for the Fugees, and is delivered in small groups by qualified teachers.
High school students work with us to decide their next step after high school graduation. With our guidance, students make a plan for college or job training, depending on their interests and academic success. For those students pursuing college, we provide sessions on ACT/SAT prep, college applications, and career exploration. We also arrange college visits for our students and cover their application fees. For students who want to pursue a more technical skill, we help them apply to apprenticeship programs or find a job placement.
Our families face major challenges upon arrival in the United States: they have experienced significant trauma in their countries of origin. Most have limited English skills. Many have no experience with formal education. In order to support our students fully through this transition, we get to know each of their families. Our Americorps members are assigned a group of students whose families they visit and engage with weekly. We check-in with parents about their child's progress in school and we help them navigate community resources. Since most parents do not speak English and many do not drive, we make every effort to keep them involved by offering transportation or by bringing in translators for parent meetings. Providing these services is imperative to parent engagement and support. When our families are thriving and committed to Fugees Academy, our students are more successful.