Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation




Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Justice Studies


Daniel J. Beers

Suzanne Fiederlein


Immigrant and refugee youth are at greater risk of encountering the following stressors: trauma, acculturation, resettlement, and isolation. If neglected, these stressors can prove detrimental to one’s social-emotional wellbeing. Although a newcomer’s successful adaptation is often measured in terms of their academic success, social-emotional wellbeing and academic achievement are intertwined. Thus, a focus on social-emotional wellness for newcomer students benefits both the students and the school systems. Co-curricular mentorship programs can be utilized by schools to meet the social-emotional needs of their newcomer students. The Peer Leaders Program (PLP) of Harrisonburg, Virginia offers one such approach. Based on trauma-informed peer support research, the Peer Leaders Program uses multi-level mentoring and flexible programming to allow newcomer students to process identity with people who share similar cultures and backgrounds. Through this program, findings suggest that refugee youth process trauma, build confidence, strengthen leadership skills, and become civically engaged with their community.



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