Summer is here, and there are a few grassroots, community-based summer programs that I’d like to highlight, and encourage you to support. The importance of positive, enriching activities for youth cannot be overemphasized.

G.R.A.C.E. for teensG.R.A.C.E. For Teens Summer Program
A program of Youth Transformed for Life (YTL)
YTL was founded by Libby Kyles, who has years of experience teaching in the public schools. She and her staff have strong community roots and big hearts. The mission of G.R.A.C.E. is “to equip disadvantaged teens with the skills needed to be successful in all walks of life. We will meet participants where they are and aid in the development of their self-esteem and their ability to improve their academic, social and life skills with a goal of graduating from high school, college or career ready.” There is no charge for teens who participate. Find out more about G.R.A.C.E. here: Grace For Teens Brochure. From their Facebook page: “If you want to volunteer and tutor once a week please let me know (especially my teaching family)! It’s not too late to donate and invest in the lives of 22 youths of Asheville. Thus far we have partnered with HorseSense for four trips to the farm working with and riding horses, working in the garden with Joan at Isaac Dickson, cooking with Gene Ettison, partnering with Odyssey in the River Arts District and HeartCross – a changing the world through service organization. It is never too late to make a difference!” Make a donation here: gofundme.com/nj96dw

christine w avery programChristine W. Avery Learning Center
Founded by CiCi Weston, former director of the YWCA’s school age program, in honor of her mother, the Christine W. Avery Learning Center offers a “unique educational experience that is culturally specific and serviced-based.” Held in the Hill Street Baptist Church, the mission of the program is “to provide students of all backgrounds with access to a quality education rooted in social-cultural theory and ministry; assisting in the growth and development of our students academically, socially, and spiritually; producing the next generation of leaders!” Find out more about the program and volunteer opportunities on their website: cwalearningcenter.com. They will be holding a benefit concert fundraiser on Sunday, June 28 from 4 – 7 pm at the Social, 1078 Tunnel Road. Click here for more details.

wwdf trailblazersTrailblazer Outdoor Adventure Club
“The Women’s Wellbeing and Development Foundation empowers women and children in communities experiencing poverty through a diversity of programs and community organizing. Our most popular program is the Trail Blazer Outdoor Adventure Club for children from a local public housing neighborhood.
Most of these kids had never before had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful hiking trails, streams and waterfalls of the Blue Ridge Mountains that surround Asheville. Our program creates that opportunity by taking youth living in public housing neighborhoods on 32 hikes during the summer to the most amazing trails of Western North Carolina.” You can make a donation here.

Thanks for reading! I have not been posting as often as I’d like, but I hope to change that.