YOUTH LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE
On the heels of the not-guilty verdict of the Trayvon Martin murder in Florida youth and families began to express feelings of fear, paranoia, anxiety, hopelessness and depression as youth became triggered by seeing a young Black man murdered by racist violence. Youth expressed, although they didn’t know Trayvon, they felt connected to him, he was just like them, wore hoodies, watched the NBA All Star game, and ate snacks from 7-11.
CCFC moved into action by holding several focus groups at schools with students, parents/guardians, staff and administration and our community partners. Based on those findings our Youth Leadership Institute was developed in response to youth participants and community expressing a need for after school and summer programming that focuses on supporting the healing of youth of color, developing resiliency, positive social emotional health, and leadership rooted in their various identities that inspires civic engagement and activism. Youth wanted a place to talk about the unique issues that impacted them and learn how they can find their power and make change that benefits them and their peers.
Incorporating our program approaches and organizational philosophies and values we began providing the following programs:
- Kalpulli – is a mentoring program for middle school aged youth that supports developing positive peer to peer relationships, youth and positive adult relationships, school and family connectedness, and middle school matriculation to high school. It also works to prevent violence and school pushout.
- Joven Noble – is a certified evidence based curriculum from the National Compadres Network and is a rites of passage program for boys of color to prepare youth with character and life skills. The curriculum address risk areas such as substance abuse, gang violence, teen pregnancy, school failure and other self-destructive behaviors to transform them into community leaders and healthy young adults.
- Xinachtli – is also a rites of passage program from the National Compadres Network for girls of color. We see rites of passage as a monumental event in the lives of girls that is empowering, honors their girlhood and is a stepping stone into the journey of becoming a young woman. We know if these spaces are not provided, the potential to engage in negative rites of passage increases (drugs/alcohol, join gangs, self and community harming behavior etc.).
- Hueliti – is a program developed by girl participants who wanted to have a space to build power, use their voice and make change in their community on a deeper level. Hueliti specifically centers the theory of intersectionality to center the unique experience of girls of color. The programs is rooted in healing, empowerment and specifically examining and working to dismantle racism, sexism and gender violence, anti-immigrant and hateful rhetoric based on the identity of girls of color. The program is anchored in developing activism and self determination for girls of color that attacks intersectional oppression.