What We Do
WMCA’s core program, the Young Community Builders (YCB) is an after school program focused on the personal, social, and emotional development of our young people. Our youth-led program is facilitated by culturally connected mentors. Mentors are multilingual first and second generation adults with the language and cultural skills needed to engage displaced youth and their families in meaningful ways. Through YCB, mentors provide refugee youth from low-income communities with safe spaces to explore their unique cultural identities, develop their leadership skills, and build community. Staff and mentors are also trained to serve as community liaisons, working to increase the network of support available to our displaced community members.
Culturally Relevant Mentoring
Mentors and young leaders co-create fun and healing spaces to come together and explore their role as change makers. Our young leaders are encouraged to honor themselves and each other by practicing self-care, playing community-building games, watching movies, creating art, dancing, meditating, gardening, cooking and sharing community meals.
An Innovative Approach
At the Academy, mentors and facilitators are trained to utilize a highly successful Emergent Curriculum (EC) model and to deploy it with an eye towards creating equity and increasing opportunities for disadvantaged youth. The EC model of engagement (endorsed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)) responds to youth interests and encourages them to participate in the design and development of the program's curriculum, thus preparing them for mature participation in their communities and futures.
Celebrating Our Diversity
In addition to weekly mentoring sessions, students work collaboratively on events and creative projects that celebrate each other, reinforce community cohesion, and co-create more vibrant neighborhoods. Youth engaged in this work develop the essential civic, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills required to emerge as leaders. Check out these awesome WMCA youth designed and led community projects.
Because of their cultural fluidity, WMCA mentors are trained to leverage their language and cultural skills to serve as cultural liaisons and strengthen the network of support available to youth and families. This includes collaborating with partner organizations to provide cross-referencing support and getting the community connected to resources.