Cierra is an 11-year-old girl living in Dayton who has been participating in the Community Action Partnership of the Greater Dayton Area’s Youth Empowerment Center. She has been flourishing in the program and was recently excited to report to the director of the program her noteworthy improvement in her school performance.
The Youth Empowerment Center is a multi-dynamic support system designed to help low to moderate income youth ages seven through 18 reach their potential. The YEC offers skill building, homework help, community service, and various culturally enriching activities to 80 children each year. Each child also takes part in financial literacy activities and college experiences. Monitored computer access and school supplies are also offered. Each child receives a Youth and Family Specialist to act as a life coach and a liaison between the family and CAPGDA as well.
Cierra’s excitement just bubbled over when responding to a question from the program director about how her grades were coming along. “I have ‘A’s’ and ‘B’s’ this quarter … that means no ‘C’s’ … no ‘D’s’ … and no ‘F’s'” she said. This accomplishment is particularly impressive because at Interim Grade Report time, Cierra was on pace earn a “C” in one subject and a “D” in another. By quarter’s end, she had improved her grade to an “A” in both subjects!
In her free time, Cierra enjoys reading, writing, singing and listening to music. She also loves spending time with her new mentor from the program, Ms. Rita. “I really like Ms. Rita. We spend time together. Like one time, we went to the book store and she got me a diary … I really liked that,” Cierra said.
CAPGDA recently received a Best Practice Award from the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies for their Youth Empowerment Center. Best Practice Awards honor innovative and effective Community Action Agency programs that measurably meet the needs of clients, families and communities by helping low-income people become more self-sufficient. The YEC received a Best Practice Award because it provides a safe environment for Dayton area youth where they can receive educational and enriching activities and services to inspire them to do more and reach their true potential.
For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit www.oacaa.org. Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer youth programs.