Pizzazz educates and trains low-income individuals using non-traditional approaches to improve the quality of their lives
In the beginning, out of great compassion for the realization of the collective impact of personal, family, social, economic and neighborhood risk factors on our youth, Pizzazz was established. There was an especially growing concern for District of Columbia area tweens (youth 9-13 years old)where they are plagued with many physical, environmental and social challenges as they transition from elementary school to middle school and are exposed to different values, norms, and expectations. Limited coping skills may place these tweens “at risk” resulting in deviant and sometimes even violent behaviors which has been theorized as products of multiple factors opating on many levels in the absence of protective factors, therefore, individual tweens are largely acting within the context of their environment and experiences.
In light of this, we developed Tutoring and Dance (T&D), a tween preventative program, as tween’s individual risk factors lead to drugs, alcohol, risky sexual encounters, obesity, unhealthy practices (i.e. lack of healthy nutrition and physical activity), poor academic performance and gang participation.
Since 2001, we have worked with over 500 youth and their families. We assist youth with homework, teach youth acceptable social skills and cooperation with others, and provide recreational activities. The dance component of the program provides tweens with structured physical activities for obesity prevention in which participants learn artistic dance routines which they perform in parades and at special events.
Our Tween Team Hip Hop: This new program, a spin-off T&D, was added in 2010 to include Latino tweens and are currently working with The Office of Latino Affairs on our 2011-2012 programs. We teach hip-hop to our participants and give them an opportunity for performance. Long- term goals for this program include tutoring, mentoring and Latino tween workshops that address their concerns.
Our other programs are:
In working the Tutoring & Dance program when we first began, we had a 13 year old young lady in our program that was really smart but didn’t want others to know it, so she would lose her school books. When she came to our program, we did the best we could to help her with her homework but because of her actions, her mother insisted that she go to summer school! This same young lady choreographed an awesome dance performance which the group performed and received rave reviews. She is now in her 2nd year of college and her mother is on our Board of Directors.
We have so many stories to tell of success of our program participants that it would take up too much time. What we know is that we do make a difference. The parades –what fun! The Community HIV Speaker Series – necessary to the community! Educating parents on how to work within the educational system – such a rewarding experience! Write a Play/Write a Story –Awesome! And our e-Marketing Work-Study Program for Youth– Just fantastic to see our participants take it so seriously!
You can make a difference too. Help us to help our youth and families!