Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción – Youth Development Program

IBA?s Youth Development Program (YDP) prepares 55 underserved high school students, ages 14-18, each year for college and professional careers by engaging them in an employment-based program, centered on arts education, that fosters meaningful peer and mentor relationships while preparing them for school and life success.

YDP?s programming approach is unique in that it integrates academic and life skills workshops with arts- and social justice-centered projects. Each week, participants engage in academic support activities (personalized homework help sessions, academic skills workshops that cover topics such as notetaking and test prep, college planning, etc.) and life skills programming (career planning, resume building, mock interviews, financial education workshops, etc.). This programming is supplemented with civic engagement and arts education projects, which provide participants with an opportunity to explore their emotions surrounding sensitive topics such as gentrification, institutional sexism/racism, and toxic masculinity in a safe space through music projects, poetry workshops, mural making, and performance opportunities. By facilitating academic and professional programming alongside arts and social justice activities, YDP is able to provide a unique combination of both educational and socio-emotional support to its participants.

In addition to this programming, YDP also facilitates monthly mental health workshops in partnership with Boston Community Pediatrics, covering topics such as trauma, coping strategies, and healthy social media use. YDP also facilitates weekly one-on-one check-in sessions between participants and YDP staff, as well as weekly Peacekeeping Circle group discussions that promote emotional wellbeing and social connection between participants. These mental health-focused workshops and check-ins provide participants with an opportunity to enhance their communication skills and process current events, issues, and conflicts in a safe space and in a healthy manner.

Finally, YDP?s programming is unique in that its participants earn a wage ($15/hour) for engaging with programming. By financially empowering its participants, YDP provides an opportunity for youth to become more familiar with budgeting, saving, and fiscal responsibility.