Experts have said that helping young people become productive members of society involves more than sending them to school every day. As parents, educators and caretakers, there are ways to look beyond the classroom to find community members who can help cultivate the next generation of innovators, leaders, entrepreneurs and change makers.
Here are some organizations committed to empowering youth to embrace their individuality and make a difference in the world:
BMe — Is on a mission to build caring and prosperous communities inspired by black men. The BMe Community is a national network of black men and thousands of other community-builders, of all races and genders. With members in Pittsburg, Baltimore, Detroit and Philadelphia, the network includes 100 leaders and has served over 200, 000 kids. The BMe website has a great repository of stories about male innovators, social entrepreneurs, political leaders and more.
Uniquely You Summit, Inc — A Philadelphia based non-profit organization that helps black girls uniquely define, discover and become who they are.â„¢ Founded in 2009 by Shaleah Lache Sutton, the organization gives adolescent girls across the nation a an opportunity to uncover their purpose, become leaders that influence the world, and design an honorable and successful future. During the last Uniquely YOU summit entitled “Expand Your World,” in Washington, D.C., the organization encouraged hundreds of black middle and high school girls to open themselves up to new experiences and new possibilities, as they expand their imagination, spirit and world. Follow Uniquely You on Facebook and Twitter.
Girl up — Is a United Nations Foundation organization that unites girls to change the world. A community of nearly half a million passionate advocates raising awareness and funds leads the organization. Girl up clubs and campuses are located all around the world and engages girls to take action on issues that matter.
The organization Champions and Global Advocates represent a diverse group of individuals — celebrities, athletes, business executives, philanthropists — who actively work to empower adolescent girls around the globe.
The YBM Leadership Alliance —is a college preparation and leadership development program for young black men. The organization is focused on promoting positive images of black men and creating a new reality where young men are sought out as leaders. The YBM leadership alliance gives back by mentoring younger students, performing community service, and public speaking.
My Brothers Keeper — President Obama launched the “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative” to build ladders of opportunity for boys and young men of color. The administration joined cities and towns, businesses, and foundations who are taking important steps to connect young people to mentoring, support networks, and the skills they need to find a good job or go to college and work their way into the middle class. To learn more visit My Brothers Keeper. To search for mentoring opportunities visit mentoring.org.
Do you know of any youth empowerment organizations located in your area? Leave me a comment below.