Caribbean Youth Summer Program
The Carlos Lezama Archives and Caribbean Cultural Center (CLACC-C) organization have worked with Medgar Evers College/CUNY over the years. During Summer 2014, we provided a joint Caribbean youth summer program for a period of 8 weeks. The program was held at Medgar Evers High School where over 90 youth learned and engaged in an educational and physical series of activities that included costume making, steel pan classes, Caribbean folk dancing and drumming. Funding was provided through CUNY. We have also participated in Caribbean Art Exhibits, Bus tour exhibits, Book readings, symposiums and soca aerobics activities. In the summer of 2013, Carlos Lezama Archives and Caribbean Cultural Center (CLACC-C) initiated its first summer youth camps at two locations: The FDNY High School for Fire and Safety and at Medgar Evers College. The Camp program at FDNY High School included 34 youth participants ranging from 8 to 14 years of age. Courses included steel pan drums, stilt walker performances and instruction, Caribbean cultural dance lessons and visits from various guest lecturers including book authors. The Medgar Evers program included 15 students in 6th and 7th grades. They learned steel pan drums. At the end of the summer students showcased what they had learned and performed at the Annual CLACC-C Street Festival. These programs have been amazing learning experiences for both the students and CLACC-C. The increase in self- esteem and confidence displayed in the students as they completed the program was clear and palpable. It has motivated CLACC-C to continue to replicate and improve upon the things learned in the initial year of Summer Camp programs. Our Cultural Art programs operate during the summer months in addition to weekends during the School year for Brooklyn Youth where they learn and engage in activities that include: Caribbean theater, research of archival photos, poetry, costume design, steel pan classes, Caribbean folk dancing, drumming, field trips and more. A very important component of the program includes Research and cataloging of the Carlos Lezama memorabilia which is made available to schools and the general public as an educational tool. Our programs end with the youth performing at the Annual CLACC-C Children’s Festival on the weekend before the West Indian-AmericanDay parade. The CLACC-C program promotes academic success and ultimately improve student retention and graduation rates through Art and Research appreciation. Carlos Lezama Archives and Caribbean Cultural Center (CLACC-C) utilizes its network and resources from the Culture and Dance classes, lecture series, and Art Gallery and Folk Learning Center to provide course instructors. The Carlos Lezama Archives and Caribbean Cultural Center (CLACC-C) program youth participants are the primary customers and they benefit in many ways to include: Participants in summer programs: do better in school, have a better chance of graduation, thus are more likely to consider higher education. They gain experience, skill development, perspective, supervision, professional connections and provide service to others. Students enjoy the courses because the curriculum for the program is fun and unlike typical school learning experience. It provides active and interactive participation and the physical aspects will provide health benefits. Parents of the CLACC-C program benefit in that it is culturally important to them and it provides a safe, secure learning environment for their child. The community benefits as many urban parents work and therefore their children are often left unattended with little to do in their summer break. The program offers them a safe, secure learning environment, where the youth are not only improving themselves, but also less likely to get involved in illegal activities or crime that affects others.