That’s A Wrap! A Review of the 2021 DC End-of-Year Showcase

By: Bang Co, DC Programs Manager

After countless hours on Zoom, a multitude of meetings, and many impactful sessions, our DC Afterschool Program finally came to a conclusion on the evening of Wednesday, June 9th, 2021. Youth members and supporters came together to celebrate our middle school and high school youth and to uplift their work throughout the past nine months at our End-of-Year Showcase.

2021 DC End-of-Year Showcase event flyer

As you can probably tell from the image above, our showcase event was centered around the theme of a campfire. The reasoning behind this choice is simple: we wanted to keep this event intimate and youth-centered. While a showcase can turn into a big production, our team felt strongly about creating a brave space for our youth to feel comfortable and supported while sharing their lived experiences throughout these difficult times. While it was not required that all youth share something during this event, all youth were given the opportunity to do so and also encouraged to share in their authentic way.

Our event consisted of two portions: a public session that was open to parents, family, friends, and supporters and a private session just for the youth and DC team. The event was broken down into the structure shown below. I will go through and describe some of these for you!

  • Welcome & Introductions
  • Youth Campfire Stories
  • Youth Council Presentation
  • Celebration Slideshow
  • Senior Transition Ceremony
  • Youth Dance Party
  • Raffles
  • Game/Skits
  • Planting Dream Activity
  • Wrap-Up & Good-Byes

Youth Campfire Stories

For the campfire stories portion, we built in twenty minutes of open space for youth members to share anything that they wanted to with the audience. Some youth members shared their excitement about graduating from high school, some shared their pride in getting new jobs, and some shared gratitude for what they learned or have done during our programs. It was important, however, for us to also give space for youth to voice their hardships of living through a pandemic. Some youth shared how virtual learning and being socially distanced from their friends and loved ones had negative impacts on their mental health. Due to the emotional impact of each of the shares, we incorporated “comfortable silence” between each speaker to allow time to reflect and respect the shared words and sentiments. Our reasoning behind this process is to model how we uplift youth voices and cultivate a community within our program.

Screenshot of our 2021 End-of-Year Showcase event

Youth Council Presentation

Members of our Youth Council (YC) led a presentation to cover their work in DC’s Chinatown. More specifically, our YC gave an overview of their “Youth Participatory Action Research” (YPAR) project that is focused on the topic of gentrification. Over the past year, they have been gathering research for the purpose of building a grocery store in DC’s Chinatown. In the broader spectrum, their purpose is to continue collaborating in solidarity with those who reside in the community through this project. Members of the YC shared YPAR project highlights and accomplishments to audience members.

“About Us” page of the Youth Council’s “Chinatown Tells A Story” website

Celebration Slideshow

Youth members worked together to collaborate on a slideshow that highlighted the different parts of both high school and middle school programming. From the different YELP! sessions to the Youth Council, the slideshow showcased the work that youth and DC staff have been able to achieve together. In addition, the slideshow also highlighted some of the activities that took place during AAPI Heritage Month (AAPIHM), which included an educational presentation on the effects of the Model Minority Myth for over 300 people. The best part about this whole slideshow was the incorporation of pictures and visuals that captured the creativity and hope of our DC After School community.

Slide highlighting some of our Youth’s artwork

Slide highlighting an origami activity between our youth and AALEAD staff members

Senior Transition Ceremony

To wrap up the public portion of our showcase event, AALEAD DC HS Coordinator, Natie Hara, led a transition ceremony to celebrate our graduating seniors. Prior to our event, our Program Coordinators (Natie Hara and Kaeli Patchen) supplied our graduating seniors with orange stoles to recognize their time and work as a part of AALEAD’s After School programs. We took time to highlight and recognize each graduating senior by pinning their Zoom video individually.

Highlighting our graduating seniors: David, Maricarmen, Mei-sha, and William


I wanted to take this opportunity to share some gratitude and appreciation for all those who attended our event. From friends and family to staff members (past and current), we are truly lucky to have such a supportive community. In addition, I also wanted to thank Natie and Kaeli for all of their hard work and patience throughout this planning process. They have been true advocates and friends to our youth members. Lastly, I wanted to thank each and every one of our middle school and high school youth members for being a part of our programs and community.

Email Newsletters with VerticalResponse