“It is our job as educators to not just teach skills, but also to teach students to know, validate, and celebrate who they are.”—Dr. Gholdy Muhammad, Cultivating Genius
Black joy is a type of experience that helps me forget about the structured racism and bias Black people face daily. As a Black woman myself, I think it’s so important that the Black community experience Black joy because we deserve to heal. Black joy helps us find our way through the dark and highlight memories that bring solace and happiness.
This year, to celebrate joy and the end of our summer programming, YWCA’s Youth Programs hosted an end of summer block party on August 17th on the lawn of YWCA Central Carolinas. YWCA’s Youth Programs serve students in Mecklenburg and Union Counties through our eight Youth Learning Centers. The literacy-based after-school program is completely free to students and families and provides full-time summer programming filled of lots of learning, exploring, and fun.
Students, coordinators and community partners stopped by YWCA Central Carolinas to enjoy the last few days of summer with some fun, fellowship and joy. Community partners from Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library, YWCA Aquatics, PwC, Anuvia and Community Kindness hosted fun activities for students to enjoy as they celebrated the end to an awesome summer.
“What I like about summer camp is that we had fun, did a lot of stuff and went on field trips,” said Journey from YWCA’s Southside Youth Learning Center.
“We’re excited. The kids were excited. They were looking forward to the block party and they’re looking forward to going back to school. And that’s what it’s all about,” said volunteer Kailey Mix
This is the first block party for YWCA’s Youth Programs. It was wonderful to bring the community together before the start of a new school year and to celebrate the end of a fantastic summer. The block party gave students the chance to enjoy fun activities and connect with the community.
Jasmine Hemphill is the Literacy and Engagement Manager at YWCA Central Carolinas. She has served as a public educator and literacy facilitator for over 14 years.