“The Slavic community has huge needs in access to housing, rental and energy assistance, early childhood programs and youth academic achievement,” says Bisera Vucak, an IRCO workforce specialist who works with newly arrived Russian and Ukrainian speaking clients.
With an increase in our Multnomah County SUN Services funding, we’re excited to expand IRCO’s culturally specific services to Portland’s Slavic community. Two of our SUN Community Schools (Gilbert Park Elementary and Walt Morey Middle) will provide culturally specific services, our Early Childhood programs will have increased capacity to enroll Slavic families with children ages 0 to 5, and our Youth programs will be enhanced with culturally and linguistically specific Youth Advocates targeting Slavic middle school and high school students.
“Parents need help navigating the U.S. educational system,” says IRCO staff Irina Kostushko, originally from Estonia. “These programs help to build confidence in parents and children. They are a great start in raising a new generation of knowledgeable, skillful and responsible citizens.”
Our new funding also more than doubles our SUN Community School capacity—in 3 years we have increased to managing 17 schools across 4 school districts. We are proud to be one of the largest providers of SUN schools in Multnomah County, ensuring that a minimum of 3,400 students receive quality afterschool programming that links students and families to culturally specific services unique to IRCO.
Photo: Community leaders in our Slavic Leadership Program on retreat in Lincoln City.