VISION STATEMENT – THE DREAM
Founded in 2007, the Youth Association for Academics, Athletics and Character Education (Y.A.A.A.C.E) is a community organization that seeks to engage children and youth from all communities – particularly those from marginalized and poor under-resourced communities through participation in year round comprehensive programming and activities (academics, athletics, recreation, technology and the arts). Y.A.A.A.C.E’s mandate is twofold: to build capacity in all children and youth thus enhancing their capacity to become twenty first century learners and global citizens.
MISSION STATEMENT – ACTIONS TO FULFILL THE DREAM:
The Youth Association for Academics, Athletics and Character Education (Y.A.A.A.C.E) uses a social inclusion framework that enables participants to access opportunities, engage in academic activities, build self-confidence, and enhance self-identification. YAAACE’s social inclusion framework is a socio-mechanism designed to impact the lives of children and youth so that they grow, learn and play in a context that is responsive and supportive of their needs, interests, expectations and aspirations, thereby enhancing the likelihood of them becoming twenty first century learners and global citizens.
SOCIAL INCLUSION STRATEGY
YAAACE’s social inclusion strategy is a socio-mechanism co-constructed by frontline workers, educators, researchers, academics, law enforcement personnel and stakeholders with a vested interest in children, youth and community. The objective of the social inclusion strategy is to nurture and incubate the vast potential of children and youth becoming twenty first century learners and global citizens. The program design pivots on the provision of comprehensive year round programming (academics, athletics, recreation, technology and the arts). The operational framework is as follows: outreach and wraparound; arts, athletics and expanded opportunities; academic intervention and support (the Weekend Academy and Summer Institute); research and curriculum development (specifically, the creation of a curriculum that targets reflective education and seeks to mitigate negative environmental factors that compromise academic engagement for students in racialized communities).
- Outreach and wraparound: The outreach aspect of the project seeks to have our mentors liaise with numerous concerned parties – various schools and school boards, grassroots community agencies, front line workers and so on – to identify children and youth who would benefit most from our programming. The wraparound aspect of our program provides comprehensive program supports from our staff and mentors that will connect our programming to children, parents, schools and communities. The wraparound strategy will provide a multi-layered support system that consists of: coaches, mentors, educators and field-specific professionals.
- The arts, athletics and expanded opportunities: The students will have access to arts-related programming. YAAACE’s in house music program, “We Tunes,” is designed to assist the students with learning to play the piano and the guitar in addition to fostering the development of their vocal abilities. The athletic programming is designed to provide our participants with access to athletic opportunities. The programming includes Small Ball, grassroots/elite basketball and Baby Jays (baseball). The expanded opportunities programming includes the tec-tot computers program in partnership with Microsoft and the outdoor relocation program with the Nine Heavens Healing Academy.
- Academic intervention and support (the Weekend Academy and Summer Institute): This aspect of the program seeks to engage all students in the program who are struggling academically via intensive academic support. Initial assessments in literacy and numeracy enable us to gauge the current achievement levels of the students enrolled in the program thereby paving the way for appropriate interventions designed to close the achievement gap. The mentors assigned to the respective students will engage the students in school, after school in our homework club, in our Weekend Academy and in the Summer Institute. Benchmarks and evaluative mechanisms will be in place to ensure that our students are successful.
- Research and curriculum development: This entails the creation of curriculum that targets five growth areas: identity, resilience, opportunity, accountability and self-advocacy. The curriculum seeks to better engage struggling students from poor racialized communities. The curriculum is created with the mandate of targeting reflective education and seeks to mitigate the impediments that compromise the academic engagement/achievement of students from particular communities.