Miami University helped the program with field trips, in-house speakers, materials, transportation and snacks.
“It has been a great eye-opener, because we have kids now who look at government in a different light,” said Samy Broyles, director of the Booker T. Washington Center and one of two facilitators of the advisory group. “We have kids wanting to pursue even being president one day, or mayor of a city, a councilman, and lawyers, too.”
The group of a dozen in January attended a council meeting and later Naab visited to speak with the youths. In February, they learned about volunteering, along with Miami University’s Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, which focuses on literacy.
In March, the children learned about peace-building and conflict resolution with Dr. Medley. They also worked on role-playing with older students from the Hamilton Youth Commission. In April, philanthropy was the topic with Munafo of the YMCA. A lemonade stand was held to raise money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, but it was rained out.
The children also met with local business owner Sherry Armstead, who is sending them to YMCA Camp Campbell Gard for a week in July. Their meetings will resume with the school year.
“So far, it’s gone really well,” Broyles said of the first-year program that was his idea. He wants to create a Y Achievers program for students in grades seven through 12, and hopes to start other programs that focus on career-readiness.
“With the Y Achievers programs, our biggest challenge right now is funding. We need to raise about $130,000, which would make this program totally sustainable, for multiple generations to come,” he said. “I feel the Y Achievers program, including this (Youth Advisory Group) will help bridge the equity gap between the disenfranchisement of folks, particularly of color.”
Those wishing to contribute can contact him at the Booker T. Washington Center at 513-785-2451, or Kim Munafo at the YMCA at firstname.lastname@example.org.