In one of the most diverse counties in America, Montgomery County, MD (http://www.mymcmedia.org/four-of-the-10-most-diverse-cities-are-in-montgomery-county/ )- recreational sports often serve as a unifying factor for many immigrant populations. Sports are a great draw for youth engagement in after-school programs, but at Albert Einstein High School, soccer is doing so much more. Continue reading “The Love of the Game” »
Answering the question, “What Did I Do on My Summer Vacation?” can be a source of embarrassment for low-income youth who’s families don’t have the resources to engage their kids in safe, holistic summer fun activities. Instead, summers are often spent ingesting a steady diet of reality TV shows, playing video games, and trying to avoid engaging in high-risk activities that beckon unsupervised teens. Enter the YMCA to help fill that void. Continue reading “Energizing our Future” »
NORTHWEST PARK COMMUNITY CENTER
As technology continues to make rapid advances the demand for a skilled workforce in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is crucial. Way a head of the game, Janice Williams, Senior Vice President of YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, recognized the need to encourage STEM learning 23 years ago when she launched Thingamajig.
Continue reading “Local Kids Sweep Awards!!!” »
Teambuilding and Leadership
The Y trains staff to transport teens through time portals where agile feet walk on the backs of turtle shells floating in molten lava. They aren’t practicing to be extras in the next Michael Bay movie blockbuster; they are training to become facilitators of building community and respect all in the name of fun. Continue reading “Imagination Boot Camp” »
LINKAGES TO LEARNING
Heavy focus on common core subjects, such as reading and math are threatening the elementary school artistic masterpieces that adorn kitchen doors across America. In a time where there is much pressure on students and teachers for academic metrics and testing, art summer camps provide a creative reprieve from life’s challenges.
This summer 32 children from YMCA Youth & Family Services’ Linkages to Learning program at Oak View Elementary School participated in Creative Adventures, a week-long intensive visual art summer camp. The camp is a partnership between YMCA Youth & Family Services and local arts nonprofit, Creative Adventures that has continued since 2012. The program can serve up to 35 students and invites students who are currently participating in the Linkages to Learning program across multiple Title 1 schools around the area. For five days, students from six local schools participated and received free breakfast and lunch through Montgomery County Public Schools.
Creative Adventures camp created a safe space for these children to express themselves and let their imaginations guide them in creating works of art. In one week, the children created art pieces that represented them and their families using different mediums. For many students, it was the first time they used reeds to create a loom and weave ribbons that represented them, their family and their community. Through the camp, children of varying ages learned to work and help each other on their art projects. At the end of the program, the students presented their creations and explained the processes used to their parents. This event brings the community together and exemplifies YMCA Youth & Family Services’ commitment to creating connections within local communities.
This year, of 32 children who participated, 12 were children who had been traumatized by the fire that occurred at the Silver Spring apartments in August of 2016 (insert Link to video of Carson & Camp). For these young people the benefit of the mental health services they received during the school year from the Linkages to Learning program along with the summer camp have been immeasurable.
When asked about her aspiration for the camp, Executive Director of Creative Adventures, Rosana Azar, shared, “[my goal] is to plant a seed in these children; a seed of creativity, of self-confidence, of being unique.”
Though the children in the camp have faced some difficult challenges the camp provided them with a chance to just be a kid and be creative without having to think about many of the troubles they face.
Donations to programs like the Y’s Linkages to Learning Program make YFS partnerships and camps possible for additional local elementary schools. Art in our schools has become a rare commodity but with your help, we can continue to advocate for the creative arts for our young people.
There is a growing awareness in Montgomery County that mentoring is one of the most effective interventions for children who have suffered the trauma of neglect, abuse, and extreme poverty. Continue reading “YOUTH LINKS INSPIRING FUTURES” »