Congratulations to the five youth ages 13-18 who completed our new Grown and Flown program. The program follows a 10-week curriculum created and co-facilitated by two Cornerstone staff, Toinette, a therapist and supervisor, and Goldie, a youth advocate. Grown and Flown came from the reality that young kids of color are growing up in a world with numerous unique challenges and limited opportunities for guidance from adults.
The below was provided by Goldie:
Kids of color experience the world very differently from their white peers. The youth we serve are experiencing more unique challenges as they grow up, such as a world pandemic, virtual/hybrid schooling, and witnessing the deaths and murders of many black men, women and children by police and their aftereffects. Now more than ever do our kids need guidance, support and a safe space of solidarity where they can talk to adults who share their same experiences. Grown and Flown is a space where they can come together with kids and staff just like them to share tips and information on how to navigate the world around them.
We started the Grown and Flown program during Black History Month. The topics covered in this year’s curriculum were:
Black Excellence: Learning more about their history, events, people, and inventions; the meaning behind their name; how to create their own future; social media and black community
Mental Health: Debunking mental health myths in the black community; self care; pros and cons of the Strong Black Woman narrative
Relationships 101: Learning what is/is not a healthy relationship; flirting vs. sexual harassment; identifying and roleplaying what boundaries and relationship deal breakers; on and off-screen romances; power and control wheel
Adulting 101: What are taxes, insurance types, changing car tires, apartment hunting, and other “Adult Things”; a panel discussion with Cornerstone black women
We used a variety of forms of communication to adapt to a variety of learning styles and to generate meaningful discussions, including Kahoot games, videos, Q&As, panels, and more. Each week we also had a segment called Crown Moments, where we would highlight current black individuals, groups or movies that the kids could relate to (i.e. Tennis Olympians, models, gymnasts, superheroes, etc.). We also hosted an open space to talk about the George Floyd verdict and the killing of Daunte Wright.
To end our program we ordered apparel for all of the kids and created participation awards to celebrate their completion of the 10-week program. We hope to offer this program twice a year and open it up to more youth in the future.