SAYA's holistic and comprehensive programming includes free leadership and identity development, academic support, college preparation, career exploration, sports, arts and STEM instruction.
Leadership and Identity Development
SAYA provides leadership programs for young women and men in high school through which they can develop their personal and social identities in a culturally affirming space, gain the skills and knowledge necessary to stay healthy in mind and body, and have the opportunity to receive mentorship. Through activities, discussion and reflection, our youth navigate the challenges of growing up in the U.S. at the intersection of race, class, and gender. They engage in conversations that challenge existing stereotypes of who they should be and undertake projects that push them out of their comfort zones. They follow a sexual and reproductive health curriculum and have the opportunity to access information and raise questions and concerns without fear of judgment. The goals of the program are to enhance their critical-thinking and decision-making skills, equip them to practice self-care, facilitate a sense of community and peer support, help them thrive in high school, college and beyond.
Academic Support, College Access and Career Exploration
For our elementary and middle school youth, SAYA provides homework help and ensures that all projects and activities include an emphasis on academic skill-building. We have recently increased strategic support to youth and their families as students progress through their schooling, particularly as they transition from middle to high school and from high school to college. High school youth receive one-on-one tutoring and college advisement, take free SAT prep classes and go on campus day trips and overnight visits to different public and private colleges. Youth also receive help with completing college applications, personal statements, financial aid forms and scholarship applications. The SAYA College Scholarship Fund has to date granted multiyear awards to three cohorts of youth in order to help mitigate their higher education costs. In addition, youth gain exposure to different professional and higher educational paths through a range of activities that foster awareness and curiosity about various fields.
Sports, Arts and STEM
SAYA youth participate in various forms of creative expression such as the visual arts, dance and music. They play basketball, volleyball and many other sports as well as practice wellness through yoga and meditation. Coding, robotics and architectural modeling classes are examples of STEM activities they can undertake. In addition, youth have the opportunity to work on projects to improve their community, such as bullying prevention and increasing voter participation in their neighborhoods.