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Projects with Promise

Vol. 28 No. 1

Refugee-Background Youth Workers as Agents of Social Change: Building Bridging Relationships One Story at a Time

  • Laura M. Kennedy
  • Lindsay McHolme
  • Carrie Symons
August 31, 2022


In the context of an established research–practice partnership with the Hope Resource Center, we piloted The Stories Project, a narrative inquiry study alongside refugee-background youth workers and U.S.- born community members. Our inquiry explored the process by which storytelling could be used to humanize and advocate for refugee-background youth in the United States. Data sources included interviews, dialogue session recordings, participant artifacts, and researcher memos. Findings centered the voices of refugee-background youth workers as they honored each other’s unique perspectives and life experiences as well as recognized each other’s shared humanity. Collectively, the youth workers identified the importance of being vulnerable, humanizing the refugee experience, and building advocacy as ways to promote social change.