LACASA Youth Program provides a safe, nurturing environment where caring, passionate staff work to stimulate personal and academic growth in every child. Our goal is to provide low-income youth ages 5-21 with the tools and resources they need to become productive, responsible and caring adults.
Passionate about stimulating the hearts and minds of children, our staff convey the importance of education, respect, and concern for the world around them by modeling these values to the students. Their extensive training and experience in child education enables them support the children’s social, emotional and intellectual needs.
Raised in the community, our staff share the children’s backgrounds and are able to relate to them on a very personal level. Such relationships of trust and understanding enable the leaders to help children make the right choices and build lives of purpose. The participants feel a part of a tightly knit and diverse LACASA community, and often take on leadership positions after graduating the youth programs.
Setting high goals and expectations for our children builds confidence in their abilities, develops their work ethic, and fuels academic and personal growth. All students are expected to be active learners and pursue higher education; to respect their peers and be engaged in their community.
Building Literacy and Critical Thinking Skills
LACASA places great emphasis on literacy. A result of tutoring and literacy activities, most of Strycker’s kids go on to pursue higher education. Children are also encouraged to reflect on their experiences, take responsibility for their actions and contribute to problem-solving.
Nurturing the Love of Learning
LACASA fosters a culture of learning by engaging children in creative projects, encouraging group discussions, and providing the opportunity to showcase their skills and talents. Theme-based projects and hands-on activities are specially designed to generate an interest in learning and develop the confidence needed to succeed academically.
When we make a connection with youth, we intend for it to become a long-term relationship. Our goal is to connect to children and teens in the neighborhood, stay connected to them throughout their life, and connect them to the next generation of youth in the community. Providing teens with an opportunity to serve as role models enables them to have a sense of purpose in life, develop their confidence and leadership skills, and provide younger children with a mentor to whom they can relate. In addition to becoming teaching staff, LACASA graduates return to Strycker’s Bay for employment opportunities, academic guidance, and support for their changing needs. Jason Acosta, a group leader of twenty five children and a former after-school participant, aptly describes the way many children and teens feel about LACASA: “There’s nothing like LACASA, it’s a second home, it gives me a chance to see other kids grow and be a part of it.”