You Can Academy (YCA) is a weekly after-school program that provides assistance with homework, technology, reading, and enriched spiritual activities to the academically at-risk kids in our community. YCA has an art component as part of STEAM( Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) Curriculum. The art program allows students to learn and development socioemotionally at an age appropriate level. This program is taught by a local community artist.
Children living in poverty face stressors that have been compounded following a global pandemic. In lower economic communities, many individuals face stigma surrounding mental health and difficulties accessing mental health resources. Mental health resources in these communities also tend to be focused on adults rather than children.
Our program meets children where they are and allows them a safe environment to grow and explore the depths of their emotions and academic abilities. This supportive environment helps deconstruct larger emotions that children may have difficulties processing through the freedom of expression in art.
Elevating children's emotional intelligence allows them to increase their critical thinking abilities when faced with every day difficulties. For children living in poverty, this can extend to learning to process their own everyday stresses that come from things such as food scarcity, unstable home and family life, language barriers, and other mental health challenges in such a way that allows them to move from surviving to thriving in their communities.