WHO WE ARE
Cultivating Youth is a 501c(3) Cultivating Youth works to eliminate childhood trauma, restore healing, prevent violence and reduce obesity in New Orleans youth ages 6-18 through physical activity, mental health, education and mentorship. Our Executive Director, who is a reformed incarcerated male, selects professionals from the community to help influence through speaking and workshop engagements at Motivation Team Athletic Academy along with the daily program initiatives. Many of our 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 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.
WHAT WE DO
Childhood trauma and obesity is our 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. Most youth with a lack of resources and funds need outlets to keep them occupied and expose them to different lifestyles and culture. 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. Listed are the programs and resources we use to achieve the goals of our mission.
HOW WE SERVE
After School: Serves 10-15 youth ages 6-18. It operates Monday - Thursday from 3:30pm - 6:30pm. This is for students to complete homework with homework assistance tutors available on-site, work with mentors, participate in physical fitness activities or athletic training and are served refreshments.
Summer: Intake 40 youth ages 6-12 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!
Employment: 5-8 adults, students and athletes on a college and high school level to teach, connect, mentor and peer mentor our youth.
WHY WE SERVE
Obesity: 20% of school-aged children are obese. (National Survey of Children’s Health)
Literacy: Only 8% of New Orleans children enter kindergarten developmentally “very ready” physically, emotionally, socially and cognitively. Research continues to show the positive long-term impacts of high-quality early care and education, particularly for low-income children. (Orleans Public Education Network)
Trauma: 60% of children in New Orleans experience PTSD.
(OPSB Institute Of Women & Ethnic Studies)
Financial Barriers: Among New Orleans families, 21% live in poverty, with African America families experiencing poverty at much higher rates (30%) than white families (8%) children from low-income families are less likely to participate. (The Aspen Institute)
Incarceration: 1 in every 3 African American men will spend time in prison in their life. Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the United States. (Census Bureau 2010 & FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2010 & Justiceatlas.org)