Youth Wellness Program for Refugees and Immigrants

by Village Exchange Center
Youth Wellness Program for Refugees and Immigrants
Pool time at the rec center!
Pool time at the rec center!

The Village Exchange Center Village Youth Club returns for a new year of fun learning and adventures with our community's youth.  In spite of the pandemic, this program has been able to safely meet in person following our careful protocols.  Our cohort of almost 20 youth has made excursions to Moorhead Recreation Center for swimming, local parks for outdoor fun, and the Denver Art Museum. We even hosted a very popular movie night at VEC to celebrate the holidays in December. 

Austin and the youth team continue to partner with the City of Aurora Parks and Open Spaces and Generation Wild and we are planning both outdoor excursions and camps for spring and summer.  We are especially excited for a filmmaking camp we are hosting on-site in March. The mini-camp will teach students filmmaking in partnership with the Neighborhood Music School. No matter what creative activity we are engaged in, the core of the program remains the students coming together to support each other and find outlets at our Center. Our partnerships and enthusiasm ensure that our youth continue to grow creatively, socially and academically. 

Looking ahead to summer, the Village Youth are planning on working on the farm projects at our Village Farm at Stanley. Here, they will learn hands-on skills related to carpentry and agriculture as well as engage in sports and STEM activities. Additionally, they will have expanded opportunities to learn about filmmaking, theater, and even equestrian care at our partner, The Urban Farm in Denver. 

VEC Youth Club continues to build its team of volunteers, working this spring with students at Regis Jesuit High School.  With this support, the program grows its aims to offer academic support and mentoring throughout the week. 

Students from our surrounding neighborhood in northwest Aurora attend this program Monday through Thursday afternoons from 3-6pm. Each afternoon we spend some of our time together offering academic support in reading and provide tutoring as well. We hope this fills in the gaps in online learning. Students attend local schools, including Crawford Elementary, North Middle School, Aurora West College Preparatory Academy, or Aurora Central.  They continue to attend school on a hybrid schedule.  


It's been a challenging time, but VEC continues to provide its neighborhood youth a fun, safe place to go each day. Here, they receive healthy snacks, play sports, spend time with their peers in person, and learn something new from mentors and coaches. Perhaps most importantly during this time of tremendous isolation and stress, our youth form part of a community of peers that are supportive and engaged with each other.

Watching Amanda Gorman rock the nation with poetry
Watching Amanda Gorman rock the nation with poetry
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
The Village Exchange Center Village Youth Club is back in action this fall after being shut down by the pandemic last spring.  Not without challenges, the program has been getting back on its feet with recent additions to the team: Austin Lazek (our new Youth Program Manager) and Alex Rios Muñoz (Program Assistant). Our team fosters student safety by checking temperatures, ensuring students wear masks and stay socially distant, and updating students on best health practices.
 
In the midst of lingering shutdowns, Austin has worked to partner with neighboring organizations, including Stanley Marketplace, where students will learn theater arts and musical performance basics; the City of Aurora Parks and Open Spaces, where students participate in urban farming, nature hikes, and outings; and the Christian Family Community Martial Arts (CFCMA), which will teach Tae Kwon Do.  Early next year shows promise as well. Our kids will learn hands-on about equestrian care, how to ride a horse, and farm operations (livestock, gardening, etc.) at The Urban Farm, a new partnership. 
 
VEC Youth Club also focuses on academic support and mentoring. Students from the surrounding neighborhood in northwest Aurora attend this program Monday through Thursday afternoons from 3-6pm. Each afternoon we spend some of our time together offering academic support in reading and provide tutoring as well. We hope this fills in the gaps in online learning. Students attend local schools, includin Crawford Elementary, Aurora West College Preparatory Academy, or Aurora Central and have been adjusting to online learning and a remote in-person hybrid school model this term. It's been a challenging time, but VEC continues to provide its neighborhood youth a fun, safe place to go each day. Here, they receive a snack, run around, and learn something new from mentors and coaches. Perhaps most importantly during this time of tremendous isolation and stress, our youth form part of a community of peers that are supportive and engaged with each other.
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Intergenerational Farming
Intergenerational Farming

This has been an unprescedented time for all of us and in addition to the disproportionate impact of COVID 19 on underserved populations, the youth may be the least equipped to handle the isolation and ramifications of this pandemic. 

At Village Exchange Center we recognize these inequities and have decided to launch the VIllage Farms at Stanley Marketplace and our Village Summer Camps.  This is a wellness social enterprise that will serve VEC’s mission by bridging community silos between the various socioeconomic communities in Northwest Aurora and Northeast Denver. We do this through growing food, cooking, eating, and celebrating our diversity of cultural, culinary, and agricultural practices. 

We believe food has the power to transcend all cultural, linguistic, and socio-economic differences and bring us together. This project stems directly from the community-identified need to create economic opportunities in the agricultural field while also providing food access. 

In just two months we have built out 16, fifty foot farm beds and a pumpkin patch and Monday are launching our Village Summer Camps. This camp will run for 4 weeks throughout July and is an effort to create equity for our youth by providing free access to the camps in a COVID 19 conscious outdoor environment. We provide extensive farming and sports programs and free lunch from 9am to 2pm. 

Please consider sponsoring this intergenerational social enterprise and our youth through the following opportunities:  

            Community Gardens Sponsorship

    • Raised Beds ($7,000 each) – branding rights on the North and South sides of the beds (50 ft long).
    • Modular training and event facilities ($30,000)
    • Hydroponic farming containers ($65,000 each)

    Summer Camp Program Sponsorship

    • Sponsor an APS ACTION Zone Camper ($350/week)
    • Program materials for educational activities and camper safety (contact us for a complete wish list)

    Vocational Apprenticeship Sponsorship

    • Employment opportunities in agriculture or culinary industry for apprentices
    • 1 month of training for a farmer apprentice ($1000)

Thank you for following this project and being an important part of our community! 

Guardian Fox Living on our Farm
Guardian Fox Living on our Farm

Links:


Attachments: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

The Village Youth Club got off to a great start in 2020!



Program Manager, Chinelo Tyler has been working with the Village Youth Club's youth and volunteers to create an exciting fall program. We have been operating under the theme of "It takes a village". We recognize the importance of community and how that positively impacts the everyday lives of children. Our efforts have been centered around providing resources for academic assistance, leadership training/design thinking, developing skills, emotional support, and having FUN!

The youth continue to meet on Monday through Thursdays from 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM.In this report VEC would like to highlight 3 events in particular.

The first is our Holiday Bike Giveaway. Students at the center were gifted bikes by the Village Exchange Center for their academic achievements and participation in Village Youth Club programming. This was made possible through a partnership with Shorter Community A.M.E. Church. The bikes are currently being utilized by the students for transportation, as well as, health and wellness programming.


In addition, VEC is excited to share that recently students have completed programming with the Tri-County Health Department. Students engaged in a presentation centered around food access. They came up with ideas and long term solutions for food disparities that exist in the surrounding community.


Finally, our students are currently engaged in a design thinking program with the Denver Art Museum. In an effort to make the youth portion of their museum more inclusive of activities children would enjoy and find innovative, Denver Art Museum has been meeting with the Village Youth Club for the past few months at least once a month. The students have designed possible programming and art projects for the Denver Art Museum to implement.

-Village Youth Club

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Practicing
Practicing

The Village Youth Club got off to a great start in Fall 2019.

Program Manager, Chinelo Tyler, was hired. He has been working with the Village Youth Club's youth and volunteers to create an exciting fall program. This fall we have been operating under the theme of "It takes a village". We recognize the importance of community and how that positively impacts the everyday lives of children. Our efforts have been centered around providing resources for academic assistance, leadership training/design thinking, developing skills, emotional support, and having FUN!

The youth continue to meet on Monday through Thursdays from 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM. 

Academic assistance is provided to youth on a daily basis. This consists of checking to see if the youth have any homework to be completed and offering the necessary help to do so.  In addition, members of The Village Youth Club complete worksheets, activities, projects, or presentations in a wide range of subjects each day they arrive to the center. Our youth have completed assignments in mathematics, reading, writing, public speaking, art, and science. The goal of our homework assistance program is to help improve the Village Youth's grades and ability to understand certain subjects they may be struggling with.

The leadership training/design thinking portion of our program teaches the Village Youth skills to become impactful leaders. The Village Youth have established their own executive board to give recommendations and help plan some of their own events/initiatives. Thus far the board has determined norms for the after school program in order to create a safe space for everyone. They have met with Chinelo to help inspire changes with timing and transportation to make the program more accessible for their peers. In, addition they are currently developing, marketing, and strategizing a youth-oriented event in the month of December at VEC for their friends.

Skills development has been a favorite amidst the youth this fall. On Mondays and Wednesdays, the youth have been participating in activities that help develop certain skills. They have received training in culinary arts, photography, woodshop, crafting jewelry, and much more. 

To the best of our ability, we hope to provide some type of emotional support for the Village Youth. Each day we have community check-ins. We all come together, sit in a circle, and share the low point, as well as, a high point in our days. As we share our different experiences we offer advice and support to one another. 

Finally, the youth program has been a place for young people to let loose and have fun! This fall we have had pizza parties, scavenger hunts, played team sports/games, and had a very exciting Halloween Party!    

It takes a village!

Cooking Up a Storm
Cooking Up a Storm

Attachments:
    Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
     

    About Project Reports

    Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

    If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

    Get Reports via Email

    We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

    Organization Information

    Village Exchange Center

    Location: Aurora, CO - USA
    Website:
    Facebook: Facebook Page
    Project Leader:
    Amy Buchanan
    Aurora, CO United States
    $7,306 raised of $10,000 goal
     
    109 donations
    $2,694 to go
    Donate Now
    lock
    Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

    Village Exchange Center has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

    Help raise money!

    Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

    Start a Fundraiser

    Learn more about GlobalGiving

    Teenage Science Students
    Vetting +
    Due Diligence

    Snorkeler
    Our
    Impact

    Woman Holding a Gift Card
    Give
    Gift Cards

    Young Girl with a Bicycle
    GlobalGiving
    Guarantee

    Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

    WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.