What’s Coming…

We are in full swing at the Southside Youth Zone! We have some really exciting things happening within our youth zone this spring!

We are working with Wesselman Woods on a special Nature Writing program for our youth. Not only does this give our youth the chance to participate in something they are really interested in, aligns with several of the careers they are interested in, it also builds upon a big focus for us – Literacy.

At EVPL the kids are learning about money management, will have a music class, and STEAM programming. Recently their STEAM program has been focused on what plastic does to our environment and how they can make a difference right now! They are taking it very seriously and are learning a great deal about personal responsibility through the process.

The kids have been carrying over that concept into the community projects they would like to focus on this spring. They have 3 main projects they have chosen to focus on.

  1. Bringing color and art to our park (Tepe Park). Creativity and art is part of our neighborhood’s core identity. They see this as an opportunity to further their connections to the community, take ownership of their community, while inspiring others. It is also because they believe color has the power to change moods 🙂
  2. Working on solutions for the stray (dog and cat) population in our neighborhood, including forming their own partnership with local agencies/ groups. When we say “forming their partnership” we actually mean the kids. We will help bring the right people in, but from there it is up to the kids to work out the logistics. This not only has them leading the charge in community change, but also learning how to collaborate with others. They also have to consider the urban eco-balance (each animal has a function in our urban eco-system and there needs to be a fine balance).
  3. The Neighborhood Gardens. In partnership with Urban Seeds, Purdue Extension, Evansville Parks Department, and the Tepe Park Neighborhood Association the kids are planning, planting, and tending the gardens. These gardens will allow our neighbors to access fresh fruits and vegetables right in the place they live. The youth will be learning about different ways to grow food, companion planting, soil preparation, plant life cycles, and why these skills are so important for self-sustainability. We are also talking with local chefs on holding small cooking workshops to show them what to do with what they grow!

June 14th The youth will be out at Bosse Field for a very special Otter’s game. We can’t say much about this yet but we are all beyond excited for this! It is going to be AWESOME!

We are working with Purdue Extension on developing urban 4H clubs. This includes a yoga one (the kids chosen activity to go with Quidditch)!

There are some other big things in the works but you’ll have to wait a little longer to find out!

Now that we have they activities out of the way, we’d like to take the opportunity to talk about an article series that you will start seeing from us. Youth- centric/ kid-centric is a fairly new concept in mainstream. Due to that, we will be continuing to explain what it means, what the difference between a youth-zone and singular program is, and how all of our stories/ activities directly align back to our mission.

What is our mission you may be asking?

To ensure each youth succeeds in life. No exceptions, no excuses.

This means both in career and their own personal development (relationships, money management, community, etc). It means we will walk this journey with each youth, wrapping around them the right services, opportunities, and programming through primary school, college/trade/or other career mode. This is not a sprint but a long term commitment to these kids and their families.

To learn a little more right now you can read some of our previous articles:

What is Youth-Centric?

Living Where They Live….

What is a Youth Zone?

Be sure to keep an eye out for more to come!

About the author: Lisa Barnett