Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cafe Youth's Saturday Academy keeps the learning and the fun going

The Cultural Academy for Excellence, or Cafe Youth, in Mount Rainier, Maryland, is open for business on Saturday March 7, 2015.  The organization's Saturday Academy is located here, bringing in local elementary and high school students who want to take part in the Cafe Youth program, which includes tutoring, art and music. 

One Cafe Youth student looks on as his peer reads aloud the directions for a game they are about to play. One part of the organization's facility is dedicated to elementary school students, like the ones pictured here, and the other is for high school students.  

Cafe Youth introduces its young students to higher education by having board games like the one above available for them to play.  In this particular game, students work their ways through elementary school, middle school, high school and college by answering questions that test their reading comprehension skills. 

A Cafe Youth student reads the question aloud that she must correctly answer to graduate from elementary school in the game. Board games like these are among tactics that, according to Cafe Youth, it uses to ultimately help students "stretch beyond their perceived limits and environment."

At another table, three other students are playing a different game that is facilitated by a volunteer from Howard University in D.C. While the other board game involved reading comprehension, this game had the boys working with mathematical fractions. 

At a third table, students are playing a board game that has to do with accumulating money. The girls were deeply immersed in their game just like other Cafe Youth students, 99 percent of which will enroll in college, according to its website.  

A Cafe Youth student buckles down and does reading comprehension exersizes after playing a board game with his peers.  A teacher, who runs the elementary portion of the Saturday Academy, goes over his work when he is finished and grades it. 

A Cafe Youth student tries to focus on reading the story that is in front of her.  The organization splits the Saturday Academy into playing educational games and doing serious schoolwork to ensure that the learning, no matter how fun it may seem, never stops.

A Howard University volunteer (L) and a University of Maryland volunteer (R) read along with students, facilitating the process. While the Saturday Academy attracts volunteers from the University of Maryland, Cafe Youth has partnered with Howard University's School for Mechanical Engineering, which keeps a steady stream of university students helping out within the organization. 

Around 12 p.m., volunteers sent up tables in the facility for the students to eat lunch at. The organization provides a fresh meal every Saturday to the eager group of students who have grown hungry after spending the morning working and playing. 

Staff at the Saturday Academy set up what's for lunch before putting it onto platters and serving it to each table. On this particular day, the menu includes chicken soup, salad, a cookie and a juice box. 

Students look at the fresh and hot meal in front on them and express how happy they are that it's not a chicken patty because "they give us those all the time and we're sick of them," said one student. Staff members walk around to make sure the students are eating in order to get the energy they will need for the day ahead of them.

Raw footage: https://www.flickr.com/photos/130779019@N05/sets/72157648888621054/

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