Engaging students in becoming active in their lives and community is one of the most important factors in creating tomorrow's leaders.By providing positive opportunities and resources to youth motivates them to follow a path that are uncommon in their families or friends.It encourages youth to “break the cycle” of negative behaviors or events that have occurred in previous generations.These negative behaviors include, but are not limited to, drugs, dropping out of school, not attending college, teenage pregnancy, and especially violence.
DC youth participated in a pre-arranged basketball tournament. The winning team challenged local DC police officers to the final game. The community was invited to see the dedication and leadership these youth have taken to make this event possible and the abilities the youth have. In addition, during the event, local youth serving organizations were invited to come and have a booth to display and pass out information about their organization. This allowed for youth to gain knowledge of resources available to them. Resource guides with contact information of resources and opportunities in DC were given to participants. The day ended with a barbeque for the youth. During this time, there was a wrap up session to recognize the key youths involved with the planning, the importance of working together, a brief statement from the police officers, and awards to the basketball players and outstanding youth who participated.
The youth board along with Benta Davis and Elexis Washington planned, designed, and implemented this project under the guidance of Nisha.
Unity in the Community 2006 - Why Wait?
In Washington DC, when compared to other cities, youth have a lack of opportunities and resources that allow them to follow positive life paths and are threatened by higher rates of high school dropout, violence, and drug abuse.Students under the age of 18 make up 20 percent of the population; however receive little guidance and funding for positive development.In addition, over 40% of the population lives at or below poverty level.Lastly, graduates from DC Public Schools have one of the lowest college attendance rates in the country.
The day started with an introduction session welcoming the students.The students were split into groups according to age and/or grade level and adult volunteers escorted the students through the stations discussing career goals, community service opportunities, scholarship opportunities, and college application processes (filling out financial aid forms, college applications, etc).The day ended with a barbeque where the youth discussed what they learned.
The participants are challenged to overcome problems or lack of opportunities in the community and help resolve them. Objectives of this project include increasing the knowledge in youths regarding how to identify options, evaluate choices, discover and build on strengths, and make decisions that will result in positive, health outcomes. In addition, the project will assist youth with goal setting, career development, cooperative learning, community service, and gaining confidence.Overall, we hoped to increase college awareness, academic success, and community services within the community.
The youth board planned and implemented the event with the help of Nisha.
As violence amongst the youth grows at a rapid rate, the relationship between the youth and the fellow police officers is diminishing. In addition, when discussing youth from DC, many of times the focus is on negative behaviors such as drug and violence.What is not seen is the many talents that DC youth posses, such as poetry writing, acting, dancing, singing, free styling, step dancing, etc, which are often hidden to themselves and outsiders.In addition, DC youth have a difficult time being proud of their community; therefore there is no desire to plan events in their community.
“Unity in the Community” attempted to repair these issues. By having the DC youth talent show, DC youth had a chance to display their talents in a positive and encouraging environment.In addition, DC youth participated in a basketball tournament and the winning team challenged Georgetown Law Student (DCPD was unavailable) to the final game.The day ended with a “Unity in the Community” gathering that gave the youth a drug-free and violence-free opportunity to meet other peers in the community.
The purpose of these events were to expose youth to a positive environment, expose the community to the positive characteristics of DC youth, educate, encourage and motivate youth to plan and participate in community events, and educate the public to provide more youth opportunities in the community.In addition, youth were exposed to drug and violence free opportunities to meet and establish relationships with other peers in the local area.
The community was invited to see the dedication and leadership these youth have taken to make this event possible and the abilities the youth have.Five youth (Sadia Coleman, Jahnin Davis, Quadir Ismael, Jasmine Boyd, and Daverna Johnson) planned and implemented the event with the help of an adult advisor, Nisha Sachdev.