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youth development

NCJC offers youth programming that promotes good health, school preparedness and school success, and the development of life skills. Our success is due in large part to the consistent and long-term nature of our programming; we have teens in programs today that started in our preschool a dozen years ago. Our programming includes:

Picture of two boys with their theacher Before and After School Programming: NCJC offers before and after school programming at a variety of elementary schools. Our programs focus on child health and nutrition, school success, and developing life skills. We offer healthy snacks at the beginning of each program and we also make healthy, child appropriate snacks with the children that teach them the basics of cooking and educates them on the different food groups. Our programs encourage creativity and diversity. Children are allowed to choose the type of play they wish to engage in, whether that be arts and crafts, playing board games, building with blocks and legos, or engaging in imaginative dramatic play. We provide many opportunities for children to learn social skills such as turn taking, good manners, problem solving, and communication with other children and adults.

children playing chess Outreach Programming: NCJC offers after school activities that are open to all school-age youth in the neighborhood. Our Open Games programming offers youth a safe space to come after school to play board games and make crafts with other youth and adult volunteers and staff. We make healthy snacks with the youth to teach them about health and nutrition and the basics of cooking and play active games to teach them the importance of exercise. We also bring in groups to teach the children about cultural diversity and expose them to people from other countries and cultures. Other groups we bring in teach kids new skills such as dance, playing chess or singing.

LEAD: Getting youth on an elevated trajectory as they prepare for life after high school is what the LEAD program is all about. LEAD stands for Learning Enrichment and Asset Development and is a two-year-old college and vocational prep program aimed at Jr. High youth, most of whom could be the first in their families to attend college. The program's main activities are tutoring, academic support for participants, and opportunites to visit college campuses in the area. University of Iowa College of Education students work with LEAD students on homework and academic strategies that that teach kids how to learn. The monthly college encounters give students a firsthand look at college life from classes and majors to career exploration. LEAD also focuses on life skill development geared toward self-discovery, pro-social behavior and problem solving. The overall goal of the LEAD program is to provide layers of support and resources that develop young people into successful adults who achieve their highest potential.

Youth Advisory Council: Our Youth Advisory Council program focuses on building leadership skills in our teens and young adults. We offer a space for participants to identify the pressing issues that face youth today and formulate a plan to help address those issues. We encourage group decision making and group planning and demonstrate that much can be achieved through collaboration. Youth are encouraged to be a voice for positive change in their community and to act as positive role models for others.