Real Life

Supporting Refugee and
Immigrant Teens in Utah

Real Life continues to support many refugee and immigrant teens in gaining essential life skills.  During the 2020-2021 school year, Real Life served at eleven welcome centers and directly influenced over 400 youth from low-income families.  Real Life utilizes 120+ Real Life interns and volunteer mentors.

We are grateful to our community partners for helping make Real Life possible.  Last year, Real Life partnered with Promise South Salt Lake, Refugee Immigrant Center – Asian Association of Utah, Umoja Generation, Salt Lake City School District, and Granite School District.   Due to complications caused by COVID-19, we were unable to begin our partnership with Project Access but are happy to announce this partnership was able to resume this year.

Real Life Interns and volunteer mentors administered curriculum based on financial literacy, career & college readiness, communication, civic engagement, social and cultural activities, physical and emotional health, STEM and art expression.  Interns and mentors also provide the participants with one hour of homework help each day.  There was improvement in every core subject among teens due to our programming.

The situation with COVID-19 created many challenges in the 2020-2021 school year. Real Life was flexible in offering in-person or virtual programming based on the needs of each of our sites. Some sites utilized a primarily a virtual program while others transitioned between in-person or virtual as needed. Real Life was grateful to be meeting in-person at 10 of 11 sites by the end of the school year last year. Real Life is dedicated, more than ever, in providing necessary services and growing with our mission to support refugee and immigrant youth in gaining essential life skills.  As a result, Real Life continues to improve lessons, increasing curriculum quality, ESL friendliness and active learning components.

Melissa Pearson

Melissa Pearson

Real Life Director

Real Life Annual Report


“As a refugee, I understand the adversities that come from adjusting to a new culture, being the odd one, and usually the first to pioneer into the daunting frontier. Having people who are willing to take your hand and walk you through the journey makes all the difference in the world. My family and I have been greatly blessed by the efforts of the International Rescue Committee, Catholic Community Services, the United Nations, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I understand how impactful compassion and service are and the Real Life Program is an incredible opportunity for me to serve and give back to the community that has given me so much.”


Real Life Intern, 2019 Real Life Scholarship Winner,
2020 YHA Finalist, 2021 Service year Participant

Real Life

Need-based scholarships honoring Real Life high school seniors and college students of refugee or immigrant background

Youthlinc is pleased to announce the awarding of ten need-based scholarships honoring Real Life high school seniors and college students of refugee or immigrant background.  We would like to recognize the Merrick Bank, Low Family Foundation, and the Barker Charitable Foundation for their contributions to make this award possible. In 2021, we awarded one $5,000 scholarship, one $3,000 scholarship,  three $2,000 scholarships, and five $1,000 scholarships for a total of $19,000 in college scholarships.


$5,000 Winner
Nida Taha

$3,000 Winner
Leila Abdul

$2,000 Winner
Niraj Sanyasi

$2,000 Winner
Didier Byringiro

$2,000 Winner
Michael Okello

$1,000 Winner
Hay Soe

$1,000 Winner
Neh Meh

$1,000 Winner
Eto Missi

$1,000 Winner
Yousuf Haidari

$1,000 Winner
Lionel "Leo" Ntirandekura

Thank you

2020-2021 Donations to Real Life Programming 

Merrick Bank

Sorenson Legacy Foundation

Low Family Foundation

UBS Bank

Lawrence T. and Janet T. Dee Foundation

Mccarthey Family Foundation

Douglas J. and Geneva H. Fife Foundation

Barker Charitable

Washington Federal Foundation

First Utah Bank

LDS Charities

Rocky Mountain Power Foundation

Dominion Energy

Ashton Family Foundation

American Express

Synchrony Bank

Larry H. Miller Charities

Walmart Foundation

Utah Rotary Foundation

Richard and Shirley Hemingway Foundation