Joint Program with Promising Futures – experience and what youth learned

By Stephanie Lim, DC Middle & High School Program Coordinator

Photos Courtesy of Stephanie Lim


What happens when two youth-serving organizations come together? Recently, a group of AALEAD’s DC Middle & High School youth had an opportunity to lead a joint program with youth from Promising Futures at GWU campus. Both groups of youth planned and led a workshop for the other, and witnessing this all unfold was such a treat.

A cohort of youth from both our Northwest One and Mount Pleasant sites planned a workshop that centered identity and peer support in four different situations:

  • Dealing with racial slurs that are directed to you or to a friend
  • Dealing with hearing insensitive comments from teachers at school
  • Being expected to know everything about and speak for your entire perceived race or ethnicity
  • Dealing with people making insensitive comments toward your parents because of their perceived lack of English comprehension and language skills

Youth were tasked with working with their peers to come up with strategies to help each other in these situations. I was so impressed with their initiative, willingness to be vulnerable, and commitment to take on a new challenge. As a program coordinator, one of my responsibilities requires me to plan and execute activities and workshops for youth. I tend to favor having youth take on hands-on activities and learn actively, so these youth were lovingly thrown into the deep end and asked to do the same for their peers.

Watching the youth express themselves and put together the pieces for this final workshop reminded me that giving youth opportunities to guide each other and facilitate their own input creates a richer experience for them. My only role in this was to assist in brainstorming and ask guiding questions. The rest was all them – they put together the situations, they suggested methods of learning, and they volunteered to lead portions of the workshop among themselves. I look forward to witnessing what more they are indeed capable of as they continue to grow in our DC Middle & High School Program.



Special thanks to Maranda Ward, Co-founder and Executive Director of Promising Futures, and the bright and dedicated youth she guides each week, for working with me and our AALEAD youth to see this program day come to life!

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