While there are many extra-curricular programs available to children, Leon Kendrick Youth Voices United (LKYVU) offers something a little different to the students and families of East Chicago.
LKYVU is run out of the East Chicago Visual and Performing Arts Academy which, as stated by LKYVU, is located in an area that is undergoing a restoration. LKYVU believes that a vital part of becoming a renewed city is that the community has a place to turn to for art, dance, music and drama. Not only does LKYVU offer these classes to the youth in the city, but the participants also put on performances and exhibits for the public to enjoy.
LKYVU also provides a safe place for East Chicago youth to be after school and during the summer which, according to the Transform East Chicago Youth Survey, has been identified as an area of concern for the city. Additionally, LKYVU programs help to empower and motivate kids in the city while introducing them to artistic recreational activities that they may not have previously considered.
According to the US Census Bureau, 35.5% of East Chicago resident live below the poverty line. Youth in these families often do not have the same opportunities as others who come from more well-off families. This means that these children do not always get to experience extra-curricular activities like art, dance and music. However, LKYVU offers its visual and performing arts programs at extremely low costs so East Chicago children can have recreational, creative and social experiences comparable to their peers.
Finally, LKYVU is different because it helps to give East Chicago children a voice regarding what is going on in their community. Too many times the thoughts and opinions of children and teens growing up in a city go unheard. Last year, LKYVU chose the theme Raise Up Peace in the Community for its 2016 programs. Children in the programs had the opportunity to sing, dance and create art that expressed their feelings about the levels of violence in their city. Not only is this beneficial for the children, but it helps to relay the message that the children hope for peace in the city.
What sets LKYVU programs apart from others similar to them is that they address issues and challenges that are unique to East Chicago youth. They work to give local children what they need while giving them the opportunity to be creative and have fun. To learn more about community organizations like LKYVU, visit www.FoundationsEC.org.