This initiative was first conceptualized as a response to the uptick in violence that has been occurring in East Boston and has resulted in the unnecessary deaths of several youth with ties to the community. We believe that providing a positive and supportive environment will help the youth build healthy friendship while using their free time in a positive manner to perform in the community and with this setting an example for other youth in the neighborhood that might be enticed in participating in gang activity and violence.
The Healthy Living through Art & Culture Youth Initiative is a program designed to engage high school youth in learning Latin American dances, perform, and exploring creative entrepreneurship through art, multimedia and the culinary industry as a potential career path. Most importantly, it is a positive method for youth to express themselves, learn, and share about Latin American cultures.
Currently we have two projects.
- VROCC Youth performing dance group that engage in learning ethnic traditional dance to perform at various events.
- Dancing Elotes a creative entrepreneurship culinary project that helps youth to acquire other skills applicable to developing a healthy lifestyles such as teamwork, stress reduction, and healthy social interactions.
The goal of the initiative is to provide a safety net for high risk youth that have a desire to explore their creative side and engage in an alternative route focused on learning about Latin culture, which is not currently offered in East Boston. The program is designed to increase the self-esteem of youth by appreciating diversity, ethnic culture and the art form as an asset that will help them pursue a healthy lifestyle. The program also supports the youth to succeed academically and develop entry level work habits. Youth that demonstrate a strong interest and commitment will be trained to be VROCC Cultural Ambassadors, that will promote our values of kindness, peace and family, which we believe are important virtues for cultivating a safe healthy neighborhood.
It is our goal to improve the quality of life for all in East Boston and promoting healthy living that includes environmental, economics and social activities. We believe that in order youth to engage in improving those areas they need to understand the impacts. This program will provide opportunity for youth to not only share their culture but learn about the community they call home.