BRYCS promotes a positive youth development approach to refugee youth services, emphasizing the inherent strengths and resilience refugee youth bring to the resettlement and acculturation process.
As stated eloquently by one teenager, refugee and immigrant youth are “blessed with the difficult task” of developing their identity while also integrating two cultures. As this quote suggests, refugee youth face challenges, but they are equipped with the assets of two cultures to help make the inevitable transition from youth to adulthood.
Common developmental tasks for refugee youth—such as balancing the expectations of two cultures, handling simultaneous work and educational responsibilities, dealing with interrupted schooling, survivor guilt, or separation from family members—are dealt with against a backdrop of beneficial strengths and protective factors that typically accompany the migration experience—family attachment, community resources and supportive relationships, ethnic and religious identity, perseverance through adversity, educational appreciation, bicultural social skills and multilingual ability.
Some refugee parents and youth may experience greater intergenerational tension during the teenage years and can benefit from services that offer teens productive activities and a sense of belonging while strengthening the parent-child bond.