Community Spotlight: African Youth And Community Organization (AYCO)

In this edition of CS the Spotlight is on a nonprofit based in Portland, Oregon called African Youth And Community Organization (AYCO) that provides services to African immigrant and refugee communities in the Portland area.

The communities served by AYCO have survived war, poverty and life in refugee camps and now face the difficult transition to living in the United States, learning a new language and integrating into a new cultural, while holding on to cultural identity.

Can you imagine being forced from your homeland and moving half way around the world to a completely new community, new culture and new language? The U.S. is a land of opportunity but even so, such a big move would be tough to navigate and the loss of ones home devastating.  AYCO steps in and makes these transitions easier by providing youth services, language support and helping to strengthen cultural identity within immigrant and refugee communities.

The AYCO mission is:

To settle the past, engage the present, and hope for the future.” AYCO strives to strengthen a sense of cultural identity within immigrant communities while also enhancing capacity toward integration and hope for the future.


The AYCO UPLIFT Youth Programs offer a wide variety of services including basketball and soccer programs that help youth develop skills both on and off the court. UPLIFT also provides academic support, leadership training, mentorship, girls empowerment groups and much more.

“The purpose of the UPLIFT program is to connect with elementary, middle, high school, and college students. UPLIFT navigators help support students as they adjust to their new environment. They also identify and strive to achieve their educational goals and facilitate integration and economic self-sufficiency”.

Other AYCO programs include BOR (Back To Our Roots) – a program that brings youth back to Africa for a cultural immersive experience, reconnecting with their roots, and CED (Community Economic Development) – a program that empowers and educates refugees for financial success, inspiring innovation and new enterprises.

Support AYCO

The NBA Foundation and the Portland Trail Blazers, among others, support AYCO. And you can too! Join the cause and give your support today!

You can learn more about African Youth And Community Organization (AYCO) by visiting their website.