Crown Me Young Mentoring and Career Exploration
“Crown Me Young Mentoring and Career Exploration” program (CMY) connects participants with mentors who look like them and are leaders across many professions (banking/finance, education, law, medicine, entrepreneurship, real estate, fashion, etc.). Participants learn first-hand the ins-and-outs of their professional interests through job shadowing opportunities such as “take your mentee to work days” (provided all safety precautions are met), career fairs, and other job shadowing opportunities. As students progress throughout the year it is natural that while some students may become even more enthralled in their professional interest, other students may realize their interests lay in a different path than originally chosen. This is the positive learning we hope to foster with this program. Students are able to explore without consequence and learn without boundaries. Program leaders and mentors show students how to navigate the professional world while maintaining a healthy support system. Ultimately, Crown Me Young stands as an incredible learning prospect as well as an opportunity to build networks and networking skills at an early age. CMY provides participants with the chance to ask what, why, and how, thus giving them a better perspective of the greatness they can hope to achieve. Participants map out their career interests and keep track of what they learn. Finally, through these same connective mentor/mentee relationships participants are placed in a better position to obtain internship opportunities, possible sources of summer employment, or even potential investments towards their entrepreneurial projects.
YBMKQ University Enrichment Programming
In the fall of 2022, YBMKQ is placing an after-school program in Pittsburgh Allegheny 6-8. YBMKQ University is an after-school program that will provide participants with daily tutors who lead weekly learning activities to help participants stay connected to learning. In addition to tutoring and homework help, students will participate in learning STEM and Art projects throughout the school year. YBMKQ University will host educational field trips to various businesses and professional industries so that participants can see what it is like to work across different professions.
YBMKQ’s after-school program centers the emotional security of the student by centering Black joy. The program’s mentors are young adults who understand what is relevant in the life of youth. They come with a host of knowledge and skill in music production, coding, comic book making, and show productions. Students who participate in the program will identify digital projects they want to work in and will work with the counselors and mentors of the program to bring them to life. Members of YBMKQ University will get to present their production pieces annually at YBMKQ’s gala. Another unique feature is its staffing of a licensed social worker. We keep one on staff just in case students want to voluntarily explore any issues pertaining to grief, anxiety, and the woes of everyday school life. The social worker is on staff to help black healing and center black joy.
YBMKQ University Summer Program
YBMKQ’s summer program is a continuation of the after-school program. It provides participants with a safe learning environment during times when youth are more likely to be unsupervised. YBMKQ University addresses the educational needs of participants by providing participants with tutors who lead weekly learning activities to help participants stay connected to learning. YBMKQ recognizes that the school year’s rigid structure may also wear down participants. Hence, as an alternative, tutors hope to spark intrigue through teaching centered around “real world” applicability in a culturally relevant manner. In addition to tutors, program leaders will work to provide opportunities to participate in college touring activities. In conjunction with Crown Me Young, participants will attend educational field trips to various businesses and professional industries to see what it is like to work across different professions.
Younger Black Pittsburgh
In 2017 entrepreneur Brian Burley created Young Black Pittsburgh, a groundbreaking project that highlighted excellence in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. The project included a published book with 140 Black leaders in the city that have transformed their industry. This project inspired YBMKQ to create a similar work with a twist to feature young people and young adults doing exceptional work throughout the Greater Pittsburgh Area. YBMKQ has created Younger Black Pittsburgh. Its focus is the same as its earlier counterpart but spotlights youth ages 15-25. The initiative is advertised all over the city and young people are invited to submit their stories and accomplishments. The published book highlights the various young people spanning from a multitude of careers. Younger Black Pittsburgh also exemplifies what diversity in the professional world looks like and inspires the youth in our community to soar higher and do more for Pittsburgh.
YBMKQ plans to provide incubation spaces to help young entrepreneurs achieve their business dreams. Through the Young Entrepreneurial Incubator Center, young people will have more access to needed resources. YBMKQ will provide a no-cost workspace where participants can troubleshoot business and marketing strategies, build on Crown Me Young Mentorship Program relationships, glean helpful advice and expertise from successful professionals, and access to investors or grants. The open working spaces will also allow participants the opportunity to share creative ideas and work around other youth with a similar focus. The Center will also host spaces in which the participants can pitch their ideas to interested investors. Wishfully, YBMKQ will be able to establish or connect to a Pittsburgh-based pool of investors to act as a “Pittsburgh Shark Tank ''. Annually this “Pittsburgh Shark Tank '' will hear the polished businesses that the young entrepreneurs have created and built up, and the investors will offer a real monetary investment. Ultimately the Young Entrepreneurial Incubator Center is giving young people the opportunity they deserve to begin building generational wealth.
The YBMKQ Community Center
The YBMKQ Community Center will act as the central hub for our programing and provide a space where youth feel safe to learn, explore, and develop positive networks. As a place of learning, the Community Center will feature a computer lab with state-of-the-art technology for students to utilize for schoolwork as well as creative exploration. Participants will have access to designated reading and study areas including several separated rooms for independent study, quiet reading, and group work facilitation.
Students will also have access to tools such as 3D printing and S.T.E.M. labs for the continued advancement of learning. With the addition of an art space, students can completely immerse themselves in their own creativity. The art space will provide conventional paint and canvas supplies as well as feature tools for clothing and jewelry design and digital media. In support and anticipation of all the brilliant ideas from participants, the Community Center will also serve as an incubator for our young entrepreneurs to run their businesses. Overall, the Community Center hopes to grant students with the necessary tools to explore and learn without limits while providing an integral space for both YBMKQ operations and youth learning.
The Community Center will also be a place for safe extra-curricular activities with open recreational spaces. The Community Center will have a site for a community garden run by participants as well as an onsite kitchen for the possibility of cooking classes. These resources will help youth and communities with the importance of nutritional eating. Furthermore, the Community Center’s Multipurpose space makes way for seminars and workshops centered around diverse topics (career/college fairs, robotics, engineering, and student lead art galleries). As a secondary function, the Community Center will serve as a key point of connection for students and the community. By providing space on the exterior for creative exploration in the form of murals, the Community Center can serve as a symbol of the creativity and beauty which lies within the community. The Community Center in the off hours will have the capability to operate as a community gathering place to gather for important community decisions or foster community building.
Finally, the Community Center hopes to provide resources to the community through the aforementioned community garden, as well as a donation center connected with local service providers to meet community needs. The Community Center while nurturing the minds of young people will also offer a sense of stability to the community. The Community Center will be a place of refuge for the underprivileged youth and will also offer a sense of stability to the community.