GYA Participates In Community Takeover Day At Community College

IMG_20150922_111220Global Youth Action had the opportunity to attend a local community resource day at Tidewater Community College’s Portsmouth campus.

The Student Activities Center has introduced a community resource center to meet all the needs of the students that attend their college in a holistic way. To support its launch, they held a Community Takeover Day in which community services were on site for all students to access.

In the future, the resource center will also be open to community partners so that students can access their services on site. We were able to offer volunteering opportunities to the college students to enhance their educational experience.

At GYA we also believe that youth work doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are a lot of factors that go into youth development and just to focus on one area such as physical fitness, spiritual development, emotional support or educational development misses the mark. We try not to ‘recreate the wheel’ in our programming but we also try not duplicate existing opportunities. Our goal is to offer global and innovative programs that haven’t been tried in a locality. We feel this enhances all the local services for youth in an area.

We offer diverse programs that appeal to different youth. We have One Sound (coming soon) to focus on Steel Pans and African Drum and Dance (as well as other globally inspired dances), Romance Academy (coming soon) about healthy relationships, Little Free Libraries which include artistic and basic construction skill development, GYA Works for job skills development and paid work experience and group and individual mentoring.

If you want to know more about our programs or how you can get involved – contact us!

If you’d like to support our programs – donate here.

Pilot Project Of GYA Works Celebrates Teens’ Achievements

GYA Works CompletionThe pilot project and first cohort of GYA Works finished in the first week of September 2015. GYA Works ‘In Housekeeping’ was designed to give youth practical work experience, workplace mentoring and classroom education in career success and personal finance.

Two youth were offered the chance to have gainful employment during July and August 2015. Both were provided with uniforms and training in cleaning and workplace expectations. They were given transportation to and from the job site and supervision and workplace mentoring while on site. Skills in the work experience portion focused on attention to detail, time management and taking direction from a supervisor.

The classroom sessions used curriculum in partnership with Junior Achievement of Hampton Roads. Career Success and Personal Finance were the best options to pair with the work experience portion of the GYA works program. The feedback regarding the curriculum portion showed that both youth felt that Career Success was very useful (10/10). For one young person, the classroom portion was her favorite part of the entire GYA Works program.

The final day of the program included a special congratulatory luncheon at Catch 31 in Virginia Beach as well as a new outfit for interviewing. Board member Tammy Bunch of Bunch Real Estate participated in the lunch program. Due to a bereavement in the family one member of GYA Works was only able to attend the classroom portion of the day and not the full celebration. In February, GYA Works will host a reunion of all GYA Works participants including a tax preparation session to round out their education and experience.

What the teens had to say about GYA Works:

“It was helpful. It teaches a lot.”

“You have to pay very close attention to detail and keep a steady pace.”

Overall it was very successful. We achieved  a 100% participation rate, a 100% classroom program achievement rate and a 50% work experience achievement rate. The next step will be to use the feedback from the youth as well as lessons learned by the GYA Works team to improve the program and prepare it for a full launch in early 2016.

Future GYA Youth Fundraise For Present Programs

Lemonade 11In her previous role, the GYA Executive Director had the opportunity to work with children and youth ages 3-13. A few of the young ladies previously taught by ‘Ms. Shae’ offered to have a lemonade stand to support GYA’s projects. It was also a part of having a new experience – a lemonade stand – which none of them had done before. GYA is all about new experiences.

Cailey, Maddie and Ava worked with their moms to create a fantastic stand along the seawall near downtown Portsmouth. The girls planned their stand location and time well for after-work walkers and drivers to stop for a cool drink on a hot summer evening.

In total the girls raised $84.75 in 1.5 hours. We can’t thank them enough and hope to put their funds to good use so that the programs we start today are ready to serve them tomorrow – because it will seem just that fast when these little girls are ready to join in changing the future through GYA.

Lemonade 1lemonade 2


GYA Empowers Teens To Build Little Free Libraries – Part 2

LFL Pics Blog 2At the beginning of August 2015, a group of teens and a few wonderful volunteers started to build three Little Free Libraries to be placed in the City of Portsmouth, VA.

Three sessions later, after a can of stain, many nails and screws, caulk, adhesive, saw dust, pizza, burgers and more soda and cookies than we care to count, the project is complete.

The teens ranged from ages 11-16 and came together from various areas across Portsmouth. Hosted by the HER Shelter and sponsored by the Friends Of The Portsmouth Public Library, the group met over the course of three evenings to complete the project.

The young people built the outside using plywood, screwed together roofs and hammered on the shingles. They stained the inside and outside of the libraries, caulked the seams and fastened on the plexiglass windows and front doors.

The libraries built are now available to three communities to help get books to areas without easy access to a library. The roofs have been left untouched so that youth from those communities can decorate their own library to reflect their neighborhood.

This project is only just getting started with plans in the works to partner with other local groups serving teens across Portsmouth to build more libraries and help residents access more books.

If you’re interested in the Little Free Library project in Portsmouth or your local area, please reach out.

LFL Pics 2 Blog 2

GYA Empowers Teens To Build Little Free Libraries – Part 1

LFL HS 1GYA works to bring global ideas to youth in a local setting. Some programs, like Romance Academy, will be at every GYA site in the future. Other programs will be based on local need and interest.

GYA is currently piloting a series of local programs in the city of Portsmouth, Virginia. Through a partnership with the Friends of the Portsmouth Public Library, we will be working with teens across the city to build Little Free Libraries.

A Little Free Library is just that – it’s a small box (house, tub, shelf or even microwave) that is in a neighborhood, community center or business where residents can take and leave books freely as many times as they’d like. The goal in Portsmouth is to get books into ‘book deserts’, which means a place with little or no access to books – a community without easy access to a book store or public library.

Our first session was spent with youth from the HER Shelter, the Portsmouth Housing Authority and nearby neighborhoods. The HER Shelter sponsored the event and provided a space to work for all the teens. We got off to a slow start but then the momentum took over and three teams each built (measured, supported the sawing efforts of an adult, assembled and painted) the basic shell for their library and got it coated in stain. Soon they will come back together and complete the projects and have three libraries complete and ready for placement in the local community.

A huge thanks goes out to the HER Shelter for hosting, Deep Creek Baptist Church for providing volunteers and tools, Lowe’s for their staff’s kind assistance (as it’s possible the Executive Director asked them 100 questions about what to get for the project) and to Friends of the Library for providing the funding for this project. A special thanks also goes out to GYA’s Community Advocate, Josh Curry, for all his carpenter skills and fast thinking on the day to get the project off the ground.


Check back soon for an update on the finished project.

Interested in knowing more about the Little Free Library project and how to get one in your area? Contact us.