Invest in a different kind of school focused on developing youth who change the world!
Village Leadership Academy (VLA) is an independent, grassroots-funded K-8th grade school rooted within a distinct community-based social justice model that provides innovative, holistic education to students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. VLA’s primary mission is to promote the development of socially accountable, culturally conscious, and civically engaged youth leaders into globally responsible citizens who transform and advance their communities, nation and world!
Village Leadership Academy not only serves as an educational institution but also positions itself as a community resource. Youth of color within Chicago face systemic barriers to education, employment, and community safety—poverty, the school-to-prison pipeline, and structural violence all work together to disempower youth and disrupt communities. These challenges demand transformative educational practices that not only support academic success but also intrinsically motivate and empower youth to combat socio-economic inequities within their communities. VLA is developing a new model for education.
What We Need: $150,000.00
Our education model is intentionally designed to culturally empower and politicize students, particularly those from blighted communities, into proactive change-agents through exposure to international travel, yearlong student-centered grassroots campaigns, restorative justice initiatives, collaborative community partnerships, and integration of mindfulness practices through transcendental meditation (TM) and yoga—all serving to advance youth leadership, strengthen youth voice, and promote academic achievement, socio-emotional development, and greater community advocacy and agency. We need your support to sustain our innovative social justice instructional model.
The G.A.P Year program is a pilot initiative at VLA designed to provide exceptional middle school students with an intensive leadership development experience. The “world is the classroom” and the course of study includes relevant, real-world experience in grassroots organizing, social entrepreneurship, participatory action research and public policy. Students who successfully complete this program transform into community leaders with a deepened analysis of social injustices and understanding of strategies for leading change.
Beginning at the kindergarten level, each classroom develops an ongoing service-learning project designed to reduce a societal problem affecting their community, nation or world. Through participation in Grassroots Campaigns students gain practical leadership skills as they amplify their voice, demand accountability from influential forces, and work to reduce social barriers.
The World Scholars Program teaches global leadership development through a year-long academic and extracurricular exploration of the history and culture of the Community of Focus. The students focus on the historical and cultural appreciation of people of the world; critical analysis of global commonalities and differences; and a culminating cultural and educational excursion to the Community of Focus.
Each school day, VLA middle school students engage in the transformative mindfulness practices of transcendental meditation and yoga.To enhance student’s ability to achieve important life tasks and goals, students also participate in weekly a Life Skills class. This class focuses on personal development by teaching strategies that enhance self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management, and responsible decision making.
Why We Need It:
VLA recognizes the power and potential of liberatory education to restore, restructure, and/or reimagine communities, and we need your support to continue to develop, refine, and implement innovative programming and critical, relevant praxis. We operate as a collective and your contribution will help sustain our learning community. Become a part of our village by donating today! All donations will be allocated to one of the following four unique programs at VLA: G.A.P., Grassroots Campaigns (GRC), World Scholars Program (W.S.P.), or meditation and yoga.
Additional Ways You Can Help:
- Share this campaign with people you know who care about empowering young people to make our world a better place. Here’s the link to share: www.donatevlacademy.org.
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- If you want to get updates as we grow, sign up for our email list and we will send you those updates right to your Inbox. Invite your friends to do the same.
No, really, thank you! We can’t do this without you and are so glad you have chosen to join us.