Randi King wrote -
OUR MISSION: As a 501(c)(3) organization,we desire to educate and be of service to Youth ages 14-21 who are vulnerable to juvenile crime in LA and ultimately nationwide. We will positively stimulate their spirits by engaging them in a two-year Media Arts Training and Interpersonal Communication project that will help remove barriers to success and beome responsible and productive citizens in society.
At the Continuation H.S. where our YABE' project is located, more than 70% of the youth receive free breakfast and lunch programs and live in low-income areas. Gang violence is very present in their everyday lives. One of the youth in our project recently commented that, " I have lived with the Gangs in our neighborhood all my life; I have seen a man shot in the leg and was bleeding. I even helped to call 911..." I will not live my life in fear or be held hostage by it."
Another project participant came to class after being violently attacked the previous weekend by members of a Gang. Due to the altercation, the youngster has not been able to attend class with regularity if at all.
One of our project participants who are very promising failed to attend class after about 10 days. I later dicovered that they had to go and live with a relative because the parent in the home was an alcoholic and causing much disruption and emotional upset with the young person. When he was stabilized in the home of another relative, he called the appropriate school personnel and reported on his new situation. Before he ended the call, he requested, "...please let Mrs. King know about my situation and that I'm sorry I have not been able to attend class..." This very statement resonated in my heart only to let me know..." We am in the right place."
I relate these incidents to you so you can see that "we have our work cut out for us..." according to a guest speaker who visited our class. And rightfully so, our task can be seen as monumental as we are working with an age group that needs so much positive guidance and HOPE. When we meet with these young people we reinforce the idea that their situation is not HOPELESS and only need to be viewed from a different perspective. This perspective is one that suggests that if we can't change our environment, then we must change the way we respond to our environment...and it must be positive.
In our after school project, we show them YABE's seven stepping stones to success: "Love self--Love others; Respect self--Respect others; Forgive self--Forgive others; and NEVER GIVE UP! We feel it is important to help these youngsters embrace these concepts on a daily basis. Unfortunately, they live in "HOMES THAT HURT" due to factors such as: lack of parental support, alcohol and drug abuse in the home, victims of crime, pregnancy, etc.
In our after school project, we want to continue to have an Academic Volunteer work with these youngsters by giving them training in Media Arts/Interpersonal Communication as well as focusing on cultural/artistic experiences to further their training and exposure in the area of multimedia. We recently took a group to the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles and one of the youth expressed appreciation and said. " than you for taking us to the Grammy Museum today...I had a great time" . YABE' understands the importance of embracing the world of Media Arts to better equip our youth for todays and tomorrows world of work. YABE' was launched as a project of both educational and life skills training to help youth be a positive contributing force in the communities in which they live; to become responsible and productive citizens of our society. For the classroom, to further our training for the youth, we need : computer software, headsets and microphones. Transportation and the provision of snacks is also needed for field trips. Our Academic Volunteers have to be rewarded for their time spent in working with these youth. We believe our after school project is not only extremely innovative but ideal as we begin partnering with other "like minded" organizations. Please DonateNOW.