Below, learn how young people in our After School Elementary Program (ASPE) and Liberation Program (LP) develop self-awareness and cultural pride, responsibility to self and community, and empowerment.
Self-Awareness & Cultural Pride
From the very first day, members in ASPE are encouraged to explore who they are and their place in the world. We cultivate this thinking through a focus on teaching African and Latinx history through the lens of the Diaspora. We infuse this knowledge through participation in the arts-based and historically enriched activities, including visits to cultural and educational centers. Just last month, our 8-12 year olds used natural materials from our community garden to create self-portraits in the style of Frida Kahlo.
LP is an educational space where young people develop informed perspectives on equity and power through learning about the history of struggle and current events. They reflect on their personal experiences with oppression and privilege. Members confront their biases, and any sense of internalized oppression. They learn social change movements of the past and present, and develop an ability to work collectively towards creating positive community change.
Responsibility to Self and Community
At Bro/Sis every young person contributes to our culture of respect by designing a code of conduct by which to hold each other accountable. As in every program, ASPE members define for themselves what it means to be a leader, sister, brother, and friend. With guidance from staff, they formulate a moral blueprint on how they will live their lives. As a group, they outline what behaviors are unacceptable and determine what is needed to create a brave and loving environment for themselves and their peers. Over time they learn how their actions affect the group and make better decisions. They form camaraderie, and develop a sense of responsibility towards each other.
Through participation in LP,
members broaden their understanding of the intersections of self, community, power, oppression, transformation, and liberation.
They learn strategies for addressing issues they are facing in their lives, moving beyond individual satisfaction to collective solutions. During the school year, members organize multi-focused campaigns tackling education inequities, criminal justice, and immigration reform. They host Community Conversations, intergenerational discussions about issues that affect their everyday lives. Members also coordinate Let’s Talk Liberation workshops exclusively for teens. These youth-led discussions bring current events and social justice issues to the forefront for our teens. Their main organizing foci include increasing the number of guidance counselors and social workers in public schools and actively calling for the closure of Rikers Island.
When members are engaged with our programs in a meaningful way, they find empowerment – empowerment over their lives and the choices they make. LP members find power in the work they do, managing complex discussions, facilitating workshops, and organizing campaigns. They gain confidence and learn to take advantage of opportunities and take actions that benefit them and their communities. Through LP members develop into critical thinkers and community leaders.
ASPE member engage in projects with our Environmental Program and learn about environmental sustainability and food justice. To prepare for their future, they meet with our College and Career Coordinator for college tours and career exploration, speaking with professionals in different fields. This year young people in ASPE learned about voting rights and the roles of elected government officials. They participated in a mock election and discussed issues that were important to them such as education, immigration, gun control, and environmental protection. These activities enable them to tap into their power as they become critical thinkers and upstanders.
All of this work is based on the four themes of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol:
Positivity, Knowledge, Community and Future
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