The Winners’ Sankofa Project

The Culture-Based Intervention of Avalon Carver Community Center 
for African- American Youth

The intervention is “based on the philosophy, culture, and values of African and African-American people and seeks through the use of African American culture to assist Black children in gaining a full and complete understanding of their duties and responsibilities as Black boys and girls. By introducing our youth to the qualities, attributes, and responsibilities of African and African-American men and women of excellence, the intervention stimulates in their character the desire to become high achievers and the best at whatever they do.”

In “educating and inoculating” Black youth, the intervention attempts to re-align them to a value and belief system which was consistent with the positive nature of African people. By reinforcing the positive attributes of Black manhood and womanhood, Winners “prevents” young Black boys and girls form being susceptible to drug involvement and drug-related activities and, at the same time, assists them in becoming mentally healthy.

Guiding Principles
Conditions which contribute to alcohol and drug use by African American youth (and adults) are only significant in the absence of a strong cultural foundation.  In other words, individuals, families and communities with cultural grounding are less at risk of the many problems associated with alcohol and drug use.

Significance of Model, Intervention & Curriculum

Founded on the principal that racial consciousness is the key variable in the development and implementation of a substance abuse prevention program that simultaneously promotes cultural identity and political/social/economic power.

Overview of Problem
Culture and cultural worldview are the foundation for every and any program model, curriculum and intervention. Regardless of how much anyone denies it, everything that we produce stems from and reflects our experiences, ideas, perceptions, biases, etc. Consequently, any and all program models, curricula and intervention in prevention – whether recognized or not by CSAP as being so – are culture based.  Unfortunately, the program models, curricula and intervention that we are being forced to select from for our communities are not written from our perspective, experiences, and our interests….our perspective of the problem to be addressed.

Concept of Sankofa

The concept of SANKOFA is derived from the Akan people of West Afrika. SANKOFA is expressed in the Akan language as "se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki."
Literally translated it means "it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot".
"Sankofa" teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved and perpetuated.

Our Challenge…
    …to develop program models, interventions and curricula that reflect OUR perception of the problem(s) impacting OUR community and that are designed to meet the cultural needs of OUR youth and adults.

Evidence-Based: The Work of  The Association of Black Psychology
The ABPSI is one of the very few national Black organizations formed during the 1960s era that has survived until today.   The organization was finally able to launch The Journal of Black Psychology in 1974. The leaders of ABPSI and the culturally relevant research in its Journal of Black Psychology has provided invaluable research on the effectiveness of the importance of culture and culture-based programming for youth of color. The Association’s eight organizational goals:
  • To enhance the psychological well being of Black people in America.
  • To promote constructive understanding of Black people through positive approaches to research.
  • To develop an approach to psychology that is consistent with the experience of Black people.
  • To define mental health in consonance with newly established psychological concepts and standards regarding Black people.
  • To develop internal support systems for Black psychologists and students of psychology.
  • To develop policies for local, state, and nation decision-making which impact on the mental health of the Black community.
  • To promote values & lifestyle that support our survival and well-being as a race.                                                                         
  • To support established Black organizations and aid in the development of new independent  
  • Black institutions to enhance our psychological, educational, cultural, and economic situation.
Staffing as Foundation of Intervention 

…a devotion to the African American community that they serve, a commitment to “stay” and do the work over the years at their Center (agency, program, organization, etc.) for the black community, and a belief in the potential of African American youth and the larger black community.

Classroom Activities
  • Target 4th & 5th Grade
  • Self-Identity-driven, educational workshops designed to impact self-identity, leadership skills, social skills, ATOD awareness, community involvement and attitude towards school
  • 50 minute workshops facilitated once a week for @ 40 weeks per class
  • Pen Pal Program

After School Activities
  • Target 25 participants*
  • Monday – Thursday
  •     2:30 – 4:30
  • Homework Assistance Workshops Daily
  • Leadership Development Workshops (once per week x 30 weeks)
  • ATOD Prevention Workshops (once per week x 30 weeks)
  • Pen Pal Writing Program

Community-Oriented Activities
  • Days of Dialogue
  • Red  Ribbon Week Rally & Celebration
  • Community Signage Campaign
  • Voter Registration Campaign

For more info contact Avalon Carver Community Center 
4920 S. Avalon Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90011
TEL (323) 232-4391
FAX (323) 234-1008

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