At Fugees Family, we do whatever it takes to advance educational justice for refugee and immigrant youth. From our students and their families, to our staff and coaches, to our supporters and community beyond the classroom – there is nothing we
wouldn’t do to see our family succeed.
- Share in the hard work of Mugisha, a student at Teranga Academy.
From Burundi to Florida to Bowling Green, Kentucky, Mugisha is committed to learning English and surrounding himself with people who challenge him to pursue his goals.
Learn how Coach Raphael, Fugees Academy’s Dean of Students, makes sure refugee families feel like a part of a school community that believes in their children.
As Dean of Students and Soccer Coach, Raphael goes above and beyond to make sure students and their families feel supported as part of the Fugees community.
Raphael’s family fled the war in the Congo when he was seven. When his family resettled in America after 10 years in a Tanzanian refugee camp, he could hardly speak English.
A player on the original Fugees soccer team, Raphael served as a coach and summer camp leader for Fugees before joining the school full-time as Dean of Students.
“I think Fugees has made it easy for a lot of students [to understand], ‘OK, it’s not just me.’” Raphael said. “We’ve made it to where it’s a community, and the community feels like they’re around their family.”
Hear how Leslie, a Teranga Academy English teacher, adapts her approach so students have the tools they need to succeed.
Whether it’s making sure basic needs are met or adjusting class policies to level the playing field, our teachers do whatever it takes to equip their students for academic growth and building confidence.
Meet Irvin, whose family business embodies the Fugees spirit.
Irvin Gonzalez’s parents are the proud owners of La Placita restaurant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, just down the road from one of our Teranga Academies.
Irvin’s parents came to the U.S. from Guatemala and Mexico, and have dedicated their lives to running a business that doesn’t just provide great food and service to the community, but gives back.
“For our anniversaries, we’ve done like sales, we’ve done cookouts, and every time for our community, sadly when a
member passes away, we’ll always have a bucket for donations to help out the family,” Irvin said. “We are very involved in our community, we do enjoy being here. We love it.”
La Placita is a testament to what happens when we not only support newcomers, but recognize their talent, creativity, and potential: “We’ve really helped them settle in, and they’ve helped us,” Irvin said of the restaurant’s immigrant employees. “Each worker we get always brings something to the table, whether it’s their work attitude or its saying, ‘Hey, I think I have this ingredient for the restaurant that would work a bit better,’ it’s always something.”
“This is a whole community of immigrants and refugees and like, the mindset that people bring, what they can add to our culture – it’s never-ending. It’s beautiful, is what it is.”