Save Our Youth.
WHO WE ARE
Cultivating Youth is a 501c(3) that works to eliminate childhood trauma, restore healing, prevent violence and reduce obesity in New Orleans youth ages 8-18 through physical activity, mental health, education and mentorship. Mack Terrance Sr. (Founder/Executive Director) who is a reformed incarcerated male, selects professionals from the community to help influence through speaking engagements, hands-on skill development, workouts in partnership with Motivation Team Athletic Academy along with the daily program initiatives.
Cultivating Youth was founded on the premise of lived experiences. In jail, Mack recognized the root cause that led him to prison. Through self development classes, he discovered that his anger was deeply rooted in growing up without a father. Upon being released from prison, it was easy for him to re-enter back into society because he was ready to walk in his purpose. He knew he needed to be the person that he needed as an adolescent. He and his wife (Mia Y. Terrance), started doing the work in the community in 2016. They opened their first brick and mortar Motivation Team Athletic Academy (for profit) in 2019 and their organization, Cultivating Youth, received it's 501c(3) status in 2021. Many of the initiatives were inspired by our founder’s participation, as an adolescent, in the Velocity Foundation program, which was founded by his Godfather --Julius Wilkerson Sr. We support youth with a youth led, full-circle approach including: physical fitness, social skills, professional development, emotional intelligence, spiritual insight, homework assistance & STEM based learning, life skills, job readiness, nutrition and overall mental wellness.
Childhood trauma and obesity is the main barrier that plagues our community.
We put together youth programs that will lessen the main barriers of obesity and trauma in our community. Our programs attack these barriers by providing breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options, educational tools, cooking lessons, life skills, quality child care, career exploration, academic support, mentorship, etc. Financial struggles can create barriers to the basic necessities, which makes mental health services, academic support, nutrition and physical fitness our main priority. Our nutrition and physical fitness component of our programs is a direct attack against childhood obesity and overeating, which is a coping mechanism to trauma. Our enrichment and homework assistance component of our program directly assists with academic support that most families can’t afford to provide. Violence prevention is also a focus of our program, which we advertently attack by occupying youth's time with enrichment and also teaching them social skills and conflict resolution. We provide a positive environment that focuses on what they love while also exposing them to experiences and things we don’t think they’d normally be exposed to in their environment through our programs. Our mentors and directors are directly relatable to the youth we serve because even though we have similar lived experiences, we’re able to show them real life examples of people who are just like them but have turned around their circumstances.
HOW WE SERVE
After School: Geared towards 8-12 year olds. Operate Monday - Thursday from 3:30pm - 6:00pm. Students complete homework/studying with Tulane University students on-site (if needed), actively work with mentors, participate in physical fitness activities or athletic training and will receive a free meal daily.
Mentoring: Geared towards 13-18 year old youth. We require a check-in, at minimum, once a week with mentors to provide updates on their improvement plans that are curated to their specific needs and/or to participate in enrichment activities.
Summer Camp: Intake 20-40 youth ages 8-12 in the community with discovering a healthy lifestyle coupled with physical fitness, literacy, mental wellness, life skills, culinary lessons, entrepreneurship, different career exploration breakouts, a summer trip & more!
Employ/Volunteers: 5-8 adults, students and athletes on a college and high school level to teach, connect, mentor and peer mentor our youth.
Youth Incarceration: Work with the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center (Youth Study). Go into the juvenile detention center 2 days per week to provide boxing, cardio fitness, physical activities, nutrition education and mentoring. The mentoring approach focuses on restoration, advocacy and future planning.
Family to Prison Pipeline: Provides relationship restoration support, propose bills that will positively effect those incarcerated and their loved ones, advocate for youth and parents that need support navigating the legal system, etc.
20% of school-aged children are obese.
Only 8% of New Orleans children enter kindergarten developmentally “very ready” physically, emotionally, socially and cognitively.
60% of children in New Orleans experience PTSD.
Among New Orleans families, 21% live in poverty, with African America families experiencing poverty at much higher rates (30%) than white families.
1 in 3
1 in every 3 African American men will spend time in prison in their life.
100% of our mentees are learning conflict resolution and have never experienced incarceration.
100% of our mentees have a fitness goal and regiment that they work to achieve 4 days a week.
100% of our mentees receive daily meals and nutrition.
100% of our youth have an assigned academic assistant.
100% of our youth have access to a therapist and mentor to help combat childhood trauma.