Brooklyn, Asase Yaa Arts Foundation, Summer Art Camp, Brooklyn youth, dance, african music, nyc summer employment, Govenor Cuomo, Rubie Inez Williams, nyc pools, nyc parks, nyc playgrounds, crowdfunding, community, black community, COVID-19, coronavirus, pandemic
Photo: Youth from Asase Yaa Arts Foundation Summer Camp

As the weather begins to heat up, the coronavirus pandemic has left many NYC youth feeling displaced, since most playgrounds and parks remain closed.

Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation, a Bed-Stuy-based arts school, hopes its summer art camp can provide a safe space for children to re-socialize after months of isolation both as participants and youth employees.

The 6-week program, which begins June 29 and continues through August 7, 2020, will host young kids aged 4-13 who will be taught dancing, theater, drumming, and attend Capoeira classes. Asase Yaa’s daily activities will include games, projects, and arts and crafts. Towards the end of the program, campers and their families will have a chance to celebrate with a “Finale Family Day & Picnic.”

“We’ve seen a lot of youth revert to technology during this pandemic, which is great but it forced us to replace human interaction,” said Rubie Inez Williams, director of operations for Asase Yaa. “We all still have concerns about the pandemic. But for us, the biggest concern is the long-term impacts that this could have on our community and our youth.”

Photo: Asase Yaa Arts Foundation

The school says it will scaale back on the number of children it accepts, from 85 children to 50. It will also take extra precautions by scheduling frequent hand-washing, prohibiting the sharing of food, and providing hand sanitizers.

“For the younger children, it’s difficult for them to understand the importance of being clean, especially while they’re having fun,” said Williams. “We’ll also be requiring that the children get tested so the parents can be comfortable and confident.”

Asase Yaa has started a crowdfunding campaign to hire around 20 teenaged youth to work for the duration of the program.

“For someone like myself who worked for summer youth when I was younger, I understand the benefits of it. It’s a good experience, they learn how to develop a work ethic, how to be financially responsible,” said Williams. “It was important for us to figure out a way to support our youth that is older than the ones who are in our actual program.

“Our employment program focuses primarily on teenagers and young adults. We try to hire youth that was once in our program.”

The crowdfunding campaign goal is to raise $50,000 to provide youth with paid experience. Donations to the program can be made from through August 15 on the Mightycause website here.

If you are interested in registering you child for the summer art camp, click here.

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Yannise Jean

Yannise Jean is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in publications like Okayplayer and Well + Good. Follow her on Twitter @yjeanwrites.

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