Aja Ceesay

Aja Ceesay

Aja Ceesay


Buffalo State Community Academic Center

Brunswick, NJ

Work Highlights
  • Contributed to the Buffalo Beginnings program which supports newcomer refugee youth in building initial literacy skills during the first year of schooling
  • Created a web-based training manual for volunteers and AmeriCorps members that work with the refugee youth which included gathering demographic data and researching the sources of conflict that refugees are fleeing in order to give better background
  • Developed a training program for staff and volunteers which covers topics such as professionalism, cultural competency, restorative justice, and addressing race and class inequality through community work
  • Conducted orientations for volunteers and new staff about CAC programs, organizational policies and tips for working with refugees and immigrants
  • Staffed multilingual drop-in sessions which provide food, clothing donations, interpreters and other services to benefit CAC families
In their words

"I learned that Buffalo has a lot to offer. It has a unique social sector that I have not been exposed to anywhere else. The summer has strengthened my desire to work in the nonprofit field but if that isn’t possible, I know I can still do good in other ways. I also learned that community engaged learning is not easy but you have to keep trying."


Aja's passion and expertise enabled her to not only to complete her project but also allow her to relate with the community and build the valuable relationship.  She innovated CAC's training materials for Buffalo Beginnings into online version in a fun way.  It is user friendly and accessible for everyone.  AmeriCorps members and service-learners working with us enjoy the interface, and are able to acquire about the program and Western New York refugees demographic in a nutshell.  That strengthens their working knowledge of the diverse population we worked with to deliver the impactful access to education.  Aja was able to accommodate the need understanding our relationship to the local community and campus community.

Win Min Thant, Buffalo State Community Academic Center