The Choice Education Team believes that: 1) college and equal job access is a key social justice issue, 2) Baltimore’s young people deserve high quality education programming, 3) youth-centered and community-driven approaches to education are imperative, and 4) meaningful education takes place inside and outside of the classroom, on and off of college campuses. We also believe that cooperative play and team building encourage developmentally appropriate, social-emotional growth: moments of childhood enrichment that mitigate the adultification of Black and Brown young people, foster resilience, and cultivate stronger, healthy social ties.
The Education Team has a focused presence in Baltimore City and home office in the Cherry Hill neighborhood, but invites all young people, throughout the state of Maryland to participate in our signature programs. Young people can participate in a variety of key program offerings that include:
Young people, ages 14-24, are connected with volunteer coaches who serve as mentors and collaborate with students on college and career pathway activities such as college tours and vocational skill building.
College night occurs weekly on campuses, including: University of Maryland, College Park; Loyola University; University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a new partnership with Coppin State University. College night is facilitated by university students and offers young people the opportunity to lead their peers in recreational and enrichment activities. Guest facilitators include community members and university faculty. Young people experience immersion in higher education and campus life. In Fall 2019, 224 youth attended Choice college nights.
After School and Sports Programming
Offered from the Cherry Hill office, the after school program runs twice a week. In the Winter/Spring 2020, the program was piloted, and youth participants learned drawing skills, working toward a final project of making their own comic books. Additional programming includes a weekly basketball camp over the summer, culminating in a championship game every August.
Periodic events, such as the annual Jam and Slam event, a back to school festival for the Cherry Hill community, are a mainstay of the Education program. In 2019, other community events included a Thanksgiving food drive and Trunk or Treating for Halloween.
Youth in Action
Rooted in anti-racism and led by young people, YIA aims to provide a platform to amplify youth voices and foster creativity. YIA offers arts programming and community organizing workshops for young people throughout central Maryland. YIA hosts regular opportunities for young people to cultivate self-expression through art while learning leadership skills and social justice concepts. Annual events put on by YIA include Art Rising, a social justice event held in the spring, and an art Showcase in the fall.
The Education Program defines success as when young people connect with coaches and are able to build and explore college and career pathways that speak to their unique interests, talents, and goals.
Funds supporting this project come from a partnership with Northrop Grumman and Marguerite Casey Foundation.
*Note: This program is not currently accepting AmeriCorps Member applications.