This part of the HarleLIVE book showcases the integrative, engaging, and holistic approach taken by HarlemLIVE in their youth enrichment program. The chapter explores the benefits and impacts of the program on its participants, particularly focusing on the aspects of critical reflection, heart and soul, collaboration, space, and healthy eating.
Critical Reflection: The chapter begins by explaining the process of writing a story for HarlemLIVE’s online newsletter, which involves strategic thinking, research, community engagement, and critical reflection. A participant, Shem Rajoon, talks about how the process helps maintain a balance between action and reflection, leading to valuable learning experiences.
Heart and Soul: HarlemLIVE isn’t just about learning; it’s also about creating a sense of safety, warmth, and belonging. The program promotes a sense of community that extends beyond being an after-school activity, making the participants feel like they are part of a family.
Collaboration: The chapter emphasizes the importance of teamwork and collaborative learning in the HarlemLIVE program. Whether working on stories, participating in challenges, or traveling together, the students learn to work with each other, foster mutual support, and respect each other’s skills and passions.
Space: HarlemLIVE transformed an unused loft into a creative and engaging environment, underscoring the need for safe and welcoming spaces for youth programs. The chapter advocates for more investment from private enterprises and governments in creating such spaces.
Healthy Eating: In the program’s new space, a kitchen was added, and this led to the introduction of cooking and healthy eating as part of the program. The chapter speaks to the importance of addressing the public health crisis caused by unhealthy eating habits in the United States.
In essence, Chapter 17 exemplifies the profound impact a holistic and engaging youth enrichment program can have on the personal and professional development of young people.