The Blade Project is an initiative for children to learn firsthand the importance of healthy eating habits and lifestyle choices with activities such as growing hydroponic plants and preparing vegetables to eat. The Blade Project empowers youth to take responsibility for their own communities and to live healthy lives themselves. The program alters not only a child’s view and value of themselves, but also the perception of West Baltimore City youth and the social relationships that exist between youth and adults. By teaching students leadership and economic standards, we set them on a path for continued development as change agents in their communities.
May is a first-grade teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies from Towson University and is a master’s degree candidate in early childhood education at The Johns Hopkins University.
Through YouCAN, Gail will host six focus group sessions for her program WeCanSucceed to engage youth, parents and teachers in identifying trends and perceived barriers and challenges to school and career engagement. Providing this platform for honest discussion aids in building the bridge necessary for a strong foundation for change. This first phase of WeCanSucceed will put the community at the center of the conversation surrounding school and career engagement.
Gail completed a yearlong counseling internship with a nonprofit that provides job readiness training to Baltimore City residents, which led her to begin thinking about how to reframe the discussion about human potential in the face of adversity. Gail holds a bachelor of science degree in behavioral and social science from the University of Maryland University College.
ArtsCAN is a community initiative that advocates for an arts integration curriculum in Title I schools as a way to close the achievement gap and provide quality creative offerings for students. The network—which is made up of Person County art and education advocates—understands that arts engage, motivate and propel students towards graduation and the job market. This holiday season, ArtsCAN will launch the “Give the Gift of Art” campaign. Through this program, art kits will be given to selected Title I schools in Person County to encourage an arts-integrated approach to learning.
Sade is a literacy tutor and arts advocate in the great state of North Carolina. She holds a degree in business from Georgia Perimeter College.
Karyn is creating parent trainings and an accompanying website meant to empower families working with schools on deciding the best educational resources for their children. The website will be created from the parent perspective and experience, and will enable parents who have gone through the Individualized Education Plan process with their child to offer advice and build a sense of community.
Karyn is an account manager and trainer in the call center at Amica Insurance, and a member of the Blackstone Valley Prep Parent Advocacy Fellowship, which furthers parents’ ability to advocate for the best education their child can possibly receive.
Books and Cuts is a set of barbershop libraries located across Washington, D.C. Ward 8 to engage more young black boys in reading and combat low literacy rates. Kesha hopes to expand these libraries to every barber shop in Ward 8, and to use her work to start a conversation about the importance of literacy and book access across Washington, D.C.
Kesha is a consultant and literacy advocate living in Washington’s Ward 8. Recently, she was senior director of a social enterprise focused on getting new books to kids living in under-resourced communities.
The schools in the city of Newark, NJ currently lack strong parent engagement, which has been proven to be a factor in student achievement. The Parent Activation Project aims to combat this by offering training sessions which supply information, hands-on training and support to increase the number of parents and community members joining or starting Parent Teacher Associations or Parent Organizations in our community. Increased involvement helps our schools become community hubs for families to learn and grow.
Tafshier is a corporate billing supervisor for an international security company. She is also a parent advocate leader and co-facilitation trainer for the New Jersey Black Alliance for Educational Options and a member of KIPPNJ—Newark Collegiate Academy Parent Partnership.