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Building Community Within (BCW) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that aims "to bridge immigrant youth and their families for a brighter and more prosperous future." BCW serves the Somali community of Minneapolis through educational programming for youth and adults.
Minnesota is home to the nation's largest Somali population, with nearly one third of the state's Somali-speaking students attending Minneapolis Public Schools. Many challenges face Somali youth, a primary concern being education and academic performance. According to the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership, English Language Learners (ELL) and African American students test lower on standardized tests and are less likely to graduate from high school than students of other minority groups.
Beyond the racial achievement gap, many Somali students face the additional challenges of growing up in low-income and non-English speaking households. These racial, economic, and cultural factors too often have a negative impact on students' academic achievement. In order to confront these challenges, BCW has developed a youth program focusing on improving the academic performance of its students by offering individual tutoring, supplementary group curriculum, and access to resources. Volunteers are vital in the implementation of the youth program and in serving BCW's mission.
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