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One Rouge Community Check -In - Week 140

Join us at 8:30 am for Week #140 via Zoom. Our Education to Career Coalition Co-Chair Dustin Lafont has been saying for what feels like forever that one of the larger pain points felt in EBR is that we don’t have enough youth programs.

Kids get bored, disengage from academic programs, and end up falling through the cracks and into trouble. We all know what they say about idle hands. But we do have really great programs that are intended to catch those very kids before any of that happens.

We will have the discussion of how we leverage what we have to support our greatest resources under the Driver of Poverty: lack of educational attainment with:

Murelle Harrison, Executive Director of Gardere Initiative

Jasmin Johnson, BRAYN Administrator

Dexter Jackson, Executive Director of Humanities Amped

Enlight, Unite, & Ignite!



Jasmin Johnson: I'm the network administrator for the Baton Rouge Area Youth Network. I see so many familiar faces on the line, so hello to all of you. I am here to talk about brain for those of you who you know are unfamiliar. We are a fairly new organization, but what we are working to do is figure out, like Pepper just said, there aren't enough programs, so we want to figure out what's there and what we need to build. So, we have a mission to strengthen the capacity and the efficacy of youth organizations. We want to strengthen the ability to produce for organizations to produce. So first we need to see what they need. If you're just joining the call before you join Dr. Harrison was talking about something very a common problem in that youth organization space. Another one is transportation. BRAYN is working to take all of those common issues and solve them as a collective. So, we are a member-led organization where your voice is your organization built by you for you to solve those problems. We are here in East Baton Rouge Parish with a fiscal big buddy is our fiscal agent. And we want to build, we want every organization you, that serves the youth to be a part of our organization, to make it easy for families to find, but also to create a standard for all youth organizations to serve the youth safely. We had our first conference. It is called the You Are the Connection Conference. This is going to be an annual conference where you will renew membership, but also we will have youth development training for your frontline staff moving forward as well as your leadership is a place to come and network. It was so much fun to see everyone coming together. We have these five working groups that work in the different areas. It. BRAYN has. So we have a convening working group, communications, school community partnerships the resource sharing working group, And so we all have these strategic goals that align with what I just talked about. You. Doing what, what's needed in youth development. And so they all have their specific goals. And so we talked about that a little bit at the conference about the work that we've been able to accomplish. We now have an MOU with East Rouge Parish where all of their youth organizations that work in the schools will need to come through our organization to be certified to either continue or to start working in E V R starting next school year. It takes a working group like Dr. Harrison's to you certify those members. If I had more time, I would talk a lot about membership because that is definitely what's needed to. Build this filled. But if you are interested in membership, I'm going to put the email address in the chat so that you can reach out to me for a prospective members meeting. Someone asked, what was the name of the conference again? You are the connection is the name of the conference. It's a reminder that you are the connection. All of your organizations are the connection to solving the problem of not having enough programs. There are statistics to support that. For every student that is in a program, there are four waiting. So brain has to see who's waiting, where are they waiting, and then what do they need? and then where do we need to build that? That's a lot of coordination. So we need all of you to be a part of brain so that we can close those gaps.

Dr. Murelle Harrison: I am so excited to tell you about the Gardener Initiative. If you don't know who we are we start, we were establishing 2006 because of the clash between the 2 25 s and the 5 0 4 s at Katrina when folks were displaced from the New Orleans area. Many of them landed in the Guyer community and it just wasn't a good fix at first. What the city did was to put a substation to contain the violence that was there, because guard deer is only 3.39 square mile area, but it has over 13,000 people. When you think about the density, that's more than 3000 people per square mile. Okay? It wasn't quite that big at 2005, but that's what happened. We always knew that we needed to be in the community, but it wasn't until I officially retired from Southern University in 2013 that we were able to start seeking money. So, we got $200,000 from the South Burbank Crime Prevention and Development District, and we were able to rent one space and we were I and we identified our space so that the Hartley Bay Park would be our backyard. But when we looked at the backyard, there was nothing but I want to be polite. They said it was a ball field, which meant it was nothing. And so for all of these people that were living in that community, there was absolutely nothing for them to do. And the first thing we did was started. Collaborating with Brett and we were able to get a $15,000 kaboom playground, and that was really good. And then we continued working with them until we got a $350,000 renovation of the park. So now in our park, we have a regulation size basketball court. We have pavilions for families to get together. We have eight bin garden that families come and work together. We have soccer fields, the fields for the football. And so now it's like a real community. We have had one or two homicides in the past year but just think there were seven homicides in 2008 in this 3.39 square mile area. Okay, so then we started our afterschool program. I see that David Beach and Jan Rosser were on there. The Wilson Foundation gave us money to start our afterschool program. At that time, the population was largely African-American and the need was for math teachers. So we had funds to hire a. Two math teachers to come and help our elementary school children and then our middle and high school children. But then the flood of 2016 came and our community changed. It transitioned from African American to Spanish speaking population. And then the need was no longer math, it was English. And so we had to switch from getting the math teachers to getting tutors. So we have partnered with LSU foreign language Department, and they had been sending us tutors. We also partnered with the Big Buddy program, which is a 21st century program. And they have helped to hire these college students to come and work with us. But I was saying at the beginning is that we need space. What hurts me, just think this week is the temperatures have been in the forties and fifties in the afternoon, our young people just come and hang up, hang out on the stairs. We only have space now for our elementary school children and Oh, okay, let me and so the high school, the middle school and high school, they were going to the park vaping, and we didn't want them to vape, so we just invited them in. And so now they just come and hang out if we had more space. Just think they just want a safe place to come and hang out in the afternoons. To address the significant ESL problem that we have in the East Baton Rouge Parish school system. We have formed an exploratory group with I see Dexter is there, but Anna we are what the idea would be this, if we just took incoming immigrants in the ninth grade and immersed them into the English language, and then they would be able to prosper in the 10th, 11th, 12th grade. The way it's done right now, they never get a command of the English language, and so they continued to fail. And then one more thing. It's really difficult to engage the Latinos into the to school because they don't have social security numbers. And then it's very difficult for them to think about going to b RCC Southern University or LSU after school because they, you need so LSU you can get in without a social security number, but you can't get the financial assistance. And that's where we are.

Dexter Jackson: I am Dexter Jackson, the new Executive director of Humanities Amp coming in after the incomparable Dr. Anna West, who is the founder and first executive director of this organization. I have to say, this is I can tell I'm still new at it. I work for Humanity Amped, which has been around since 2014. And we have a different philosophy when it comes to doing work with the school and with youth. We work very deeply inside schools. Currently we are in residency at Tara High. We have, this is our first year there. After spending some time at a few more places, McKinley and Broadmoor and we work in a different, a couple of different fashions. The first thing we do is we provide afterschool care for the kids. We also push into classrooms, which my teammate Dr. Gist is here. And I'm going to give her the opportunity to talk about our pedagogy and how we view education in just one second, but, our true philosophy is that we want to be one place and we want to go into that one place deeply. So as Dr. Harrison was talking about ESL, we support that work. So, we actually have volunteers who come in from LSU to support English language learning in classrooms along with the newcomer work that we're trying to do with Dr. Muriel Harrison and the newcomer committee. But I'm going to pass it to Dr. Gist because I want to make sure we get a lot of time in on how we look at education and the work we're doing in classrooms.

Dr. Emma Gist: I'm going to talk a little bit about the work that we do in classrooms with teachers. Like Dexter said, it really matters that we are at the school and that we're doing work alongside the teachers at the school. So, one of our residency pieces is in the freshman academy. In the freshman seminar class, they are doing some project-based learning work where they are drafting children's books about how to overcome a challenge. And so my colleague, Ms. George, and I have gone in there to support the teacher, the classroom teacher. In planning that project from beginning to end and focusing on not just the product, it turns out that the book is not actually what matters. What matters is the work in collaboration that the students learn along the way. It's the work in time management that the students learn along the way. The benefits of revising and getting someone else to get eyes on your work, all of those pieces are actually the magic that's happening in that. Freshman academy class. And then we also do some residency push-ins that we match with coaching. So, Dr. West is still going into model lessons that center SEL and also literacy practices in. Several different classes, so English classes and then also one of our ESL classes. And the effect of this is that we get to embed professional development in a way that makes it really accessible to teachers. Sometimes the way we do professional development for teachers is that they go to a presentation and someone stands up at the front of the room and they say, here are all these great strategies. And then as a teacher, and I have been a classroom teacher, so I know this feeling deeply, it's very easy to say, that sounds great, but it would never work with my kids and it would certainly never work in my third hour. So, what we do is we do that work alongside the teachers in the classroom in their third hour so that they can see not only that, that the, it's worth trying the things that we suggest, but also. That it can be done. And then we balance that with coaching. So, then the teachers also they meet with me, they reflect on what they saw Anna do and then what they want to try themselves. And then I go in and observe them trying those strategies. And then they go on a learning journey with us there. And then like Dexter said, we also have our volunteers who push into various classrooms to support the English language learner population at Tara, which is really high. I think it's the second highest high school in the district for. or ELs. That's it, that's what I have to say. Awesome.

Dexter Jackson: We also provide social emotional support and restorative conferences. So, we have a licensed clinical social worker on staff that works with the school. So, when kids get suspended, expelled excuse me, they, but when they come back, they have a restorative conference, right? And they talk to this, they talk to Ms. Harris about what they could do different and how they can make improvements to be able to stay in class and what the transition coming back to school looks like for them, which is super important because a lot of times the kids come back for those of us who have been in classrooms and are just thrown back in, and there may be some embarrassment there or some other feelings that have gone unresolved. And so the opportunity to be able to have those conversations with a trusted adult who is not necessarily an authority figure is extremely important to the success of the student. And The school provides us with a list of kids who are coming back and we support them in that way. And then I know my time is up, but I will be remiss if I did not announce. If you're going to play the Oscar music, please feel free to go ahead. But I would be remiss if I did not re mention the work that we're doing at U City Lab where all four of us humanities amped, front yard bikes, big buddy at line for line, or trying to create a community space on Government Street where kids can come and people can come and be and ask and participate in all of these programs that we offer in one place. So I'm not going to go that far over time, but if you have questions about that or anything else, feel free to drop 'em in the chat or ask 'em when we're done. Thank you. So happy to see so many people whom I love on this call, and I'm excited to get to know. And those of you who have shown me such love and support as I have taken my first ed job, and I will leave it at that.

Pepper Roussel: So, the reason that we're having this call, and I know that we've talked about this before, or I've mentioned it at least I think I have said it a lot, but we've got these programs that exist that our youth are not connected to. And then we've got programs that you used to exist that that just aren't there anymore. And the objective really is to figure out how it is that we can connect. Young people to places that will support and give them what they need. But it sounds like we also, as those programs need support, so brain seems to be filling or at least attempting to fill in that gap. Tell me more, Jasmine, about how it is that not only through membership, can we get to a place where we do have opportunities for programs to support youth, but also how do we connect the youth themselves to those programs?

Jasmin Johnson: We are definitely at the beginning stages of figuring out how to connect the students. It takes the work of all of our members to figure out. Common issues. We have Dr. Harrison on a call. Dexter is new to the group, but we've had Dr. Anna West and several others a part of brain that are working on asset mapping, seeing where programs are, seeing what students need, and seeing where we need to build programs. So, it does take that membership, it does take that the work of the different groups and the time and the talent of those groups to figure out how we fill in those gaps.

Dr. Murelle Harrison: I'd just like to add, we have our website, our brain, and so youth and families can go to and as Jasmine said, you can. Identify where the programs are throughout the East Baton Rouge Parish school district.

Pepper Roussel: When we met was out at the Gardere Initiative over at MLK Day, and there were all of these really incredible programs that were going on, not the least of, which was the GAR Initiative, which was something that was really interesting to me because it does integrate community into actually trying to support youth, right? So, it's not just this very narrow and very siloed view of it is a child who needs a place to be for two hours after school. Help us understand a little bit more about how it is that program not only works to quash disputes between the 225 and 504, but how it is that as you transition from focusing on African-American needs and math teachers to Spanish speakers and English learning, that the community is supporting both of those initiatives.

Dr. Murelle Harrison: The Gardier Initiative is not a program. It's community development, I guess you would say initiative. And so we have, because we've been there in the community since 2015, we have gotten to know our neighbors. And so I have some of our African American youth who are participating. I knew their mothers; I knew their grandparents. And that's the value, that's the value of staying in a community. Then with the influx of the Latinos into the community, we just started developing that same relationship. And let me tell you how we started. I think it was St. John's Food Pantry that gave us two, 25 pound bags of onions. And we didn't know what to do with these onions because they were smelling up our little space. So, we put 'em on the outside. So then we said, why don't we just take 'em and put 'em in little bags and give them to the neighbors? And that's how we started connecting to the Latina community, giving them a bag of onion. And that evening, one of the boys came and he couldn't speak English very well, and he said, my mama said, and he didn't know how to say onion in the English. So, he got on the computer and he found a picture. And then that's how he knew his mom wanted another bag of onions. And that's how we started. Again, if families know that you care and they begin to trust you with their children. And last year the Salvation Army gave us 1500 pairs of stocks. We just went through the community and we were trying to match 'em, but we couldn't. And so we just gave out a pair of socks. And so, it is just to let the community know, but I think that's how you establish community. And but I want to say something else about the undocumented Dexter mentioned social emotional. Do you know that if many of the social workers in the East Baton Rouge Parish school system. have social workers, but you have to have a social security number because they're paid through Medicaid. If you don't have our children, there is a social worker at Highland Elementary, but they can't see our children because they don't have social security numbers. But thank God for, again for the Wilson Foundation. I'm so excited about this because I just founded out this week. But, and I'm trying to think about what the counseling service name greater something of Greater Baton Rouge. I'm having a senior moment, I can't think of the name, and I'm so excited, but now they have funds and they will provide a counselor to come to our office four hours a week to see our children. That is going to be such an incredible service for our children and for our adults who just don't have the funds to seek that kind of help. And all of us know the trauma. We have so many children who are here without their moms or their dads. They haven't seen these are elementary school children who haven't seen their moms in four or five years. And so it is just going to be so good to have them to have that service in our community. So that's exactly the sort of thing that I want to hear, right? So one rouge is readdressing these issues, poverty, how is it that we do connect with community that we may be integrating with for the very first time community that we are really not sure how to integrate with.

Pepper Roussel: I was pretty stunned when we were talk when Dexter mentioned not only organizational skills, but psychological and emotional because I was just like, where do I sign up? Tell us more.

Dexter Jackson: Dr. Gist, this may be a perfect time for you to jump in with our trauma informed socio-emotional learning.

Dr. Emma Gist: Yeah, definitely. So, we have a framework that has two layers to it. The first layer is culturally responsive teaching and learning. So, we recognize that students come in to the classroom with various backgrounds and we recognize all of those backgrounds as an asset. And we draw from Dr. Goldie Mohamed's work with historically responsive literacy strategies. So, we focus on the development of we, we focus on identity. So, students come in and we recognize that their identity matters and counts in the classroom and is valuable. We develop skills with them. So, like in that book project, there's the writing skills, like I said, there's the revising skills, the collaboration skills, all of those pieces. We include intellectual development, so they should be learning something when they're in, when they're in the classroom. And then also criticality. So, thinking about the world. in a way that allows us to ask questions about it and to pursue our own questions about it. And then that second layer, the trauma informed, healing centered layer is about recognizing that many of our young people come in with trauma and they come in with complex trauma that needs to be addressed, but also they are more than their trauma, which is this healing centered approach that we like to also center in the work that we do. And so this has to do with making sure that the classrooms feel like a safe space where they can share what they need to share with adults and get the supports that they need. And also elements of peer support and collaboration show up in that layer also. So those kind of two lenses inform everything that we do in the classroom on top of the stuff that's already happening in, in classrooms.

Pepper Roussel: Just a really quick follow up though, because it sounds like, especially if we're talking trauma informed that there are similarities but also very distinct differences between the traumas that a an immigrant child would be experiencing and an African American child would be experiencing. Are these, are, is the support system the same or are they very separate support systems? So you have to have two different types of mental and emotional support coming in, or is this the same provider?

Dexter Jackson: I think this is one of those places where we've talked internally as a team and I think this. Leads into that question as well, even though it wouldn't seem like it. A lot of times we first of all, we as a unit have recognized the need for that kind of separate conversation about being culturally competent for the Latinx community that we serve, because there are differences in that. I actually just found a study a couple of days ago that talked about the mental health barriers in the Latin community based on where they come from, what generation they are in America, and a few other different things that if anybody's interested in, I can definitely send you. It was a very good read. But more importantly, I think that. We need to answer your question to COA, it's really, it's a simple answer, but it's so interesting that it's really about the leadership at the school, right? The leadership at the school has to be bought into whatever you're going to be doing in that place around social-emotional learning, and they have to prioritize those things. And when you run into a situation where, and I know this, my, from my work at Metro Morphosis is the Walls Project and now Human Example where I've been focused in schoolwork for the last, since before the world ended in 2020. It is about what people will prioritize on their particular campus. And luckily we are at a place that does prioritize those things. So, when I mentioned it to the great the new principal of the year John Haman at Tara High, that, hey we were thinking about doing some d e I work, but we were thinking about doing it from the lens of being culturally competent for the Latinx community that we serve. As Dr. Gist mentioned I think Tara is now number two after Broadmoor with the influx of folks English learners. He was all about it. There wasn't any pushback. He was like, I don't know why I didn't think about that. Yes, that's something we absolutely need to do. Whereas some other places, they're not as inclined to be that open. And so that re that really is what creates that kind of immersion effect that you see in flame is the buy-in that you have from the administration. at the top level, not only in the principalship, but at the administrative level of the district as well. And so, you need both of those entities to be bought into what you're doing in order to be effective. And I hope that wasn't a rambling answer to your question, but that is the true crux of what gets at the real change in any school that you want to be in.

Pepper Roussel: No, that's actually a really sound answer. I appreciate it. And it really does dovetail us into the, for the question in the chat, which is what's the language and cultural training for those people who are working in the communities? And this is not just for Humanities Amped but for those of y'all who are sending folks in, are we preparing them before they arrive?

Dr. Murelle Harrison: One of the things that uh, for us at the Initiative, we have a Spanish speaking staff person, and it has just made a tremendous difference if. And thank you for whoever put in the chat family services. That is the group that I was thinking of. But we had family services had met with one of our parents before this week. And so, we had our staff person had to do the translation. You had to have a degree of trust in order to be able to do that. But I do think that we need, of course, in our schools, we need more Spanish speaking people who really understand. I can tell when our children, when a student comes, who actually knows the language, little face lights up because they can tell the difference. When and it makes them feel so good when somebody speaks their language. Sure. They trust us and they care about us, but I can tell the difference when they have one of their own.

Pepper Roussel: Not to be insensitive to any of the other languages because we focus a lot on Spanish. But do we have other native speakers or languages like Portuguese or French or anything but Spanish or is that the only thing that we've decided that is valuable in these areas?

Dexter Jackson: I think that over the last 7, 6, 7 years it's not that any language or culture is more important than any other, it's more that we have seen a giant influx of Hispanic speaking people in the last six or seven years or so. I know I began seeing it at Villa Del Ray and it just blew up. That was the first time I saw it, and ever since I've been in school since then, with the exception of maybe the schools. North of Florida Boulevard. That is what I have seen mostly. Yeah. So anything SMA and Glen Oaks don't necessarily have a whole lot of Latinx folks in their buildings, but the Broadmoor, the Tara’s, the Villa Del Rays, the Belaire which is technically north of Florida Boulevard they definitely do it. So, I think that's more the reason that you see this, and I do want to say that we had a training last Saturday to that, that was focused more about supporting kids in classrooms. But our board president Dr. Alex Torres, her dissertation was on the learning style or the learning of English people. Okay. Emma, I'm going to ask you to articulate better what her dissertation was on, cause I'm fumbling here. Yeah.

Dr. Emma Gist: She specifically worked on thinking about the experiences of undocumented Spanish figures. I, no, actually, no. It was undocumented students in. In the East Baton Rouge Parish school system. So the challenges that, that Dr. Harrison was bringing up about not having social security number and all those different things, but that was the work that she did because I think that I really appreciate this question about the translation ability. And I think that one way to think about it is to recognize that the simple ability to speak the language is not sufficient for what these students need, right? Just because you can speak Spanish doesn't mean that you like, see these children as an asset to our community. You know what I'm saying? Those the mindset and that that focus really matters too. And that I think translates across different, no pun intended, across different groups Also, because we also talk about, in the training that we did on Saturday, we frame. With this idea of accompaniment for our folks that are coming in from LSU and they're all undergrads and have some dual language ability. But we frame it within this idea of accompaniment from Latin American liberation theology that we're not showing up in the classrooms to fix or save these children, right? Like we're recognizing that they come with their own expertise, in their own experience. And so this idea of being with them and walking in the classroom experience with them and supporting them that way is part of that mindset that really matters. Because otherwise we get into this kind of like saviorism thing, right? Where we show up and I'm here to fix you and save you which is really damaging and dangerous. So, I think that. The language skills, the ability to communicate huge, enormous, right? But just like y'all are saying there, there are also instances where there are ELs who don't speak Spanish. There are native languages. Some other language that maybe we don't have someone on site to necessarily translate for. We should have all of those resources. But the willingness to be, to walk with the young person through their different experiences is also part of what makes the work possible and healing in a way that isn't further damaging.

Dexter Jackson: And we are looking we have been seriously looking at ways to take our methods and our trainings out in, into the community. And so if you are looking for a training or anything along those lines around this topic or socio-emotional learning or beloved community or all the other things that human. Preaches. Then please feel free to reach out to me. I'm going to drop my email in the chat so that we can have a deeper conversation about it. But our goal is very specific. We choose to stay in one place for this very reason because it allows us to understand the complexities of the issues that surround not just the school community, but we are able to build deeper connections with the people in the school community. That helped us to, that helped to inform us about. what's needed in the broader community. And so, with that in mind, we are more than willing to offer trainings to your staff or to your particularly your youth serving and youth development staff. But if you have administration that needs to learn as well to have part be part of these conversations, please reach out to us and let us know, because we are looking to increase our impact in this way across the community.

Dr. Murelle Harrison: I would like to add something. Also, we talk about Spanish speaking or Latinas, but then also to recognize that each of these the children from different countries, so like the Guatemalans, the Ecuador, Honduras they're, they have different, they have cultures within themselves. And I had to learn that the wrong way, hard way, I guess you would say. Because tacos made from Mexico are different from the way that the Honduras makes them. And so, we also have to be respectful of the various backgrounds, countries that these children come from. I know like when they, when we first started having the influx of Latinos into the community, the African Americans were saying like the Mexicans and they're, and then the Mexico is quite different from all of the countries. So, it also teaches us a little geography as well.

Pepper Roussel: Without a doubt. Costa Rica is not Colombia and it's not Panama and it's an just because they speak the same language. It's very much the same as English excuse me, as at the US is the same as Australia or England itself. And these are not the same at all. Very different cultures and even different ways of speaking the language. Speaking of Colombia, I was actually spent a little bit of time talking with Marcela Hernandez to the Brain Summit, right? So, this is how we all get connected and we're Marcela go. I know she can't be far. We were talking about some of the challenges that not only are we trying to address through the brain network, but ah, there you're, but also how it is that language is creating additional opportunities for growth.

Marcela Hernandez: I just absolutely love this session. I think this is one of my favorite ones because everything that is being said is so truthful. Every single thing that I'm listening today, and it's just, it's very exciting for me to hear that there's so much awareness. I love everything you said, Dr. Harrison. It's so true. And I want to share with you something that I'm dealing with one of our youth. We have a youth empowerment program at Glory. And I want to bring a human face to this whole conversation so you realize that this is the real matter. One of our youth leaders, an A+ student, 4.0, he came to the United States when he was about four or five he has not been back in his country. And he's been undocumented during this whole time. Graduated was able to get scholarships from high school. However, because of his documented status, he could never claim them. He enrolled himself into college. Very difficult. It was a painful, long and stressful process, but we were able to do it. Started going to college, 4.0 chemical engineering. Amazing. He's been in college for the last four years, struggling to pay a tuition out of pocket. Last two weeks ago, he called me and he said, I'm dropping off. I freaked out. I asked Why was that? I'm dropping off because I don't have any other opportunities to do my internship or to get a job when I graduate from here. This is the reality that we face. This is not only numbers and this is not a narrative that it just happens. This is real, and unfortunately we have to address this in a local level, but also in a national level. This is not only bringing principals together, this is not only bringing teachers together or organizations together. This and a structural change in the system must be completed. Now this young man is trying to decide what is he going to do with his life now? and this is the real phase that the, this is the reality that we face on a daily basis. So I would love this opportunity to make that call in action in this wonderful medium and make you realize that the struggle is real. Not only with learning English, not only with coming into a country that sometimes is not welcoming to us, but also what are those opportunities that we as organizations are actually creating humanities amp, all of those wonderful initiatives. Brian, we also need to be considerate of those who are undocumented, those who have more limitations and just be have that sense of solidarity because they're real, they're kids, they're youth, their families and we just want to be the best. We, and we do the best 4.0 and he dropped off because there was not an opportunity for him to succeed. Thank you.

Pepper Roussel: And as we talk about not only finances, right? So this young man not able to continue to pay out of pocket, but also looking at the finances of those who might want to step in and help, right? So, there's a question in the chat. Is there language learning for educators or even those who work at NGOs, can this be government subsidized? Do you all know of any programs that'll help folks to learn another language if they can't afford to make the financial investment themselves?

Dexter Jackson: I don't know of any programs, but that's a great question. I'm going to look and see if I can find any. But one of the things that I can say that has helped me in learning languages is I actually get the kids. If you are in a position to. To have the youth teach you their language. It creates really good connections and also educates you a lot. And it's just as simple as playing. What's that? You walk around and point at things and say, what's that? And then they say it in English and you say it in whatever language that may be they may speak. And that's one way that you can dive in and it may be a really great way for you to build those connections and really get a deeper a deeper feel for the youth that you're trying to serve. And once you get a little bit proficient, and I say this from experience, once you get a little bit proficient you, they will no longer speak to you in English. So I have become fairly proficient in Spanish, French, a little bit of Russian and a couple of other languages just because I would walk around playing what's that? And knew how to say Good morning and goodnight. And now you have, they will not speak to you in your English language. So that's one way that you can hop in and try and be a part of it if you can't find any other free resources.

Jasmin Johnson: there are several free re resources through the library. I know in the children's room, I don't know the specific names of the programs, but I just talked to Mary Stein prior to the conference about underutilized resources that our membership could benefit from. And there were so many, she mentioned several that had to do with language and even disabilities or all abilities such as like deafness. There were all types of programs available through the library, even consulting. So brain will be bringing you uh, more information about resources like that. Yes, we I am so excited. I'm hearing so much from the programs and that's what Brain is here to do, to make this comprehensive effort to bring all of the challenges to one table, to one network and see what we can solve when we can solve it and serve our community effectively. So yes, I love this. And yeah, definitely reach out to Mary Stein at the library for resources about language.

Dr. Murelle Harrison: Just wanted to add, there was another dimension to the issue with newcomer immigrants. And it's not really newcomers, but it was re what prompt us to start this exploratory group. But what happened is that we had a mom had received a letter from truancy saying that her 17-year-old wouldn't go to school. And the 17-year-old was just adamant that he was working. He was not going to stop his job to go to school, but then the mom would have repercussions from the legal system. And that is what prompt us to talk to Roxanne Welch at the truancy Center. So you have these high school, Spanish speaking young men who are just dropping out of school because they don't see the need because of what you're just saying, Marcella. And so, they're going to work. They can make money. But yet their parents have repercussions from our legal system for truancy.

Casey Phillips: Thank you, Dr. Harrison. And just to build, because all these conversations are interconnected and we're talking about afterschool options. I just want to make sure that there's a really big part of our demographic in our community that isn't being discussed when we are talking about Old South Garden and North Baton Rouge and that conversation super. And there are a lot of young people in Ville outside of Baker in Prides are Zachary. There's a lot, there's a lot of talent. And so I would love to hear our speakers that are either working directly in those communities or no nurse who are, cause I lifted up because the ASCE Parish Fish Council, the United Way has put together has been meeting for years now and rouge based organizations, New Orleans based, or,

Helena Williams: I think that his question is around outside of the EBR school parishes, how are we connecting to those external cities that are very close to us to connect them to the same kind of youth programming?

David Beach: I'll go ahead and chime in and I didn't catch the end of what Casey was trying to say, but and he mentioned a lot of communities where we don't necessarily have a place-based focus right now. But maybe we will in the future. Right now we are rolling out a grant round related to North Baton Rouge wide. And it's got to focus on housing, education, economic mobility, and health and wellness, and any organizations that are intentionally focused in a group of zip codes that essentially comprise what we anecdotally know as North Baton Rouge are eligible for this grant round. You can go to our website and we'll drop, I'll drop that in the in the chat and you can learn more about specifically this grant round. But we also welcome any questions that you may have.

Jasmin Johnson: And I'll add the membership working group is actually focusing on what members we have and what zip codes they currently serve so that we can build more programs specifically in Bat North Baton Rouge. But like Casey said, there are so many, there's a need everywhere. In the future Brain definitely will be looking into how do we serve all of the youth in Baton Rouge, but right now our focus is North Baton Rouge. If you were at the conference and to get advantage of the networking it was Toko was on this call. She facilitated that networking and we did record zip codes for that reason. So, we are thinking about that and making plans to attack that issue. Casey, I hope I answered the question.

Marcela Hernandez: In terms of resources for newcomers and those who wants to learn English, you should know that. Laurie, the Louisiana Organization for refugees and Immigrants, we do offer ESL classes and we actually started them this week. We have ESL classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from five to 7:30. And not only that, but if you know anyone who would like to come and learn but are having transportation issues, please get in touch with me because I know we are aware that transportation is one of the greatest issues to actually get into the office. So please let get in touch with me because, we'll, we might be able to accommodate that transportation challenge.

Dr. Murelle Harrison: If you're familiar, maybe two years or so that the city offered love heals free clinics. But they were held at the airport this year. They're going to be held at the river center April the 15th and 16th. We are looking for volunteers again, undocumented people and African Americans who are older and don't have access to Medicaid they don't have access to healthcare. And when I attended the first meeting last week for this clinic, The last time they held the clinic, 933 dental procedures were performed. And I took seven children to the, to the clinic. I went at seven o'clock in the morning. We stayed until three o'clock in the afternoon. It must have been like 40 degrees in the cold. And we stayed there only to be told that they didn't have any more pediatric dentists. And so that's why I'm involved this year. I know the need, but let me tell you, even the reason we didn't, we weren't seen at seven o'clock is because you need to be in line at two or three o'clock in the morning. So, when the doors open at seven, then you are seen. So, we need, I put the website in the chat if you are able to. volunteer, please do seven to seven on that Saturday and seven to 3:00 PM on that Sunday.

Casey Phillips: I know some folks have to start jumping off at 9:30, so we'll get to community announcements in a second. But I do just want to make sure and give space to Dexter and Jasmine and Dr. Harrison. Just for any kind of parting thoughts, anything that's in any inspiring words or anything that you're planning for the future that you would like the folks on this call to collaborate and support you on. So, anything in that realm?

Jasmin Johnson: I will say we definitely need members as you all here on this call, we are all doing great work to serve the youth. Some organizations specialize in certain things that other organizations can use. The coordination that brain provides it's a one stop shop. I don't need to explain the impact of collaboration. That is what brain is for your organization. These working groups are not like anything else. Dr. Harrison can tell you, not only do we have fun on these in these working groups, but we really are doing important, impactful work on a larger scale. Your organization gets to focus on what you do well on your partners for what they do well. We need to hear all of these issues that all of the organizations are fa facing. So, we figure out how to make a collaborative and a larger impact on the issue instead of your one organization trying to do it on yourself. We do better when we do things together. One of our values is collaboration is community collaboration and consensus. And so, we will go slow because we want to do, it's impactful and together. So please reach out to me. I did put the email in the chat, and I'll do it again for those who joined later. To inquire about membership, I do one-on-one perspective member meetings so we can see what the needs of your organization are and how you fit into brain. This is how we will figure out where the organizations need to be, how you can expand your programs. What zip codes need programs. We have to do it together.

Dr. Murelle Harrison: I just want to thank you for this opportunity to come and talk about the Gardener initiative and the work that we are doing, and there's always room for someone to come to us, regardless of what your skills are. I have four youth who are waiting for me to take them on because the date is the mentoring date. Thank you so very much. Thank you,

Dexter Jackson: thank you for letting us come here and talk about our program and the work that we do, how the world comes full circle. I'm back up The Walls Project again, my beloved, if you will. And so, I do want to say that one of the cool things about being at Tara is that it actually has the largest zip reach of any school in the district. So, we work with everyone from Scotlandville all the way over to Gardere. It has the widest zone of all. And so we have a lot of opportunities to touch a lot of different communities and a lot of different zip codes. And so, if there's a way that you want to partner to be able to increase your impact with your work or increase our impact with our work, please feel free. If you want to come take a tour of the school and see what we do, we have a great relationship with that administration, with that school, and they are more than welcoming to anyone who we bring in. So, I just want to throw that up there. And of course, I left my, my email in the chat and I do want to give a special shout out and thank you to my education director, Dr. Gist, for her expertise today. And I look forward to seeing and working with all of you.

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