Thursday, March 19, 2015

Race and Afterschool: Finding the Gold Within

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha
Much of our afterschool programs are situated in low income schools, which means schools with a high number of black and brown kids. We all acknowledge the issues surrounding the achievement gap and have conveniently reframed it as the opportunity gap. We design programs to close this gap but rarely do we talk about race and the needs and lives of those same black and brown youth. 

If minority youth are to take advantage of the opportunities we offer, to what extent do they need help understanding their experience being black or brown in America? Stories like the one that came out of Ferguson, MO remind our society that something is going on that we're not talking about. We rarely talk about race in afterschool circles. 

To promote a discussion, we have partnered with Karina Epperlein, the Director of Finding the Gold Within, to offer a number of screenings for the Bay Area afterschool communityFollowing the film, we will host a Q&A session with the film director and young people who are featured in the film. To view a trailer of the film, click here. (As some of you may know, Ms. Epperlein and Kwame Jerry Williams, Drummer and Storyteller featured in the film, presented at our How Kids Learn IV conference in San Francisco. Their presentation can be viewed by clicking here. The conference also featured a presentation by Dr. Shawn Ginwright on the considerations of social emotional learning when engaging youth of color. It can be viewed here. We also offer another presentation by Dr. Ginwright at the first How Kids Learn conference, which you can view here and here.) 

Finding the Gold Within is a feature film documentary that had its world premiere recently at the Mill Valley California film festival. It features a program from Akron, OH named Alchemy, Inc. This group uses drumming, mythology, and journaling to promote the healthy development of inner city African-American children and youth. 

Screenings of Finding the Gold Within will be offered at no cost to afterschool workers and advocates, as well as older youth from those programs. While there is no cost, registration is required. Screening times and registration information is below:

These screening events are sponsored by Temescal Associates, the Learning in Afterschool & Summer (LIAS) Project, and the Expanded Learning 360/365 Project. Supporters include the Oakland Unified School District; Alameda County Office of Education/Region 4; the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation; the David Brower Center; the RYSE Youth Center; and the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families. 

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