JÓVENES EN ACCIÓN
Jóvenes en Acción/Youth in Action (JEA) is our year-round program for youth in grades 8–12 that combines three components: Afro-Latin arts, education supports and mentoring, and civic engagement and youth organizing. Participants also benefit from social-emotional support both 1:1 and in small groups
When youth sign up for JEA, they join one of JEA’s Afro-Latin arts teams: Ritmo en Acción (dance), Musicians In Community, or Acción Community Theatre. They receive training in their art form and also work on creative projects like producing and performing in a web series or creating original pieces. Youth also use their art to explore and uplift issues affecting them and their communities. Through these artistic experiences, youth develop all kinds of important skills such as leadership, creativity, and collaboration—skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.
Through Ritmo en Acción, youth learn contemporary and traditional Afro-Latin dance, including styles such as bachata, salsa, merengue, bomba, and rumba, along with the histories and traditions of these styles of dance. In addition to group choreography, youth also practice social dancing which is culturally such an important part of Afro-Latin dance.
As part of Musicians in Community (MIC), youth participate in training in primarily Afro-Latin music, covering topics such as music theory, ear training, song writing, improvisation, music history, stage performance, and overall musicianship. Youth have the opportunity to learn piano, drums, vocals, and guitar/bass, and also come together as ensembles.
Through Acción Community Theatre (ACT!), youth devise and create original pieces in ensembles, and also learn basic improvisational skills that serve as the building blocks for their creative collaboration. Through ACT, youth also explore various Afro-Latin theatre styles and traditions, exposing them to different ways of storytelling.
EDUCATION SUPPORTS AND MENTORING
All JEA youth also explore college and career options and plan for their future alongside a caring adult mentor. During their senior year, JEA youth work with their mentor on all aspects of the college application process, from drafting essays to submitting college applications and ultimately making enrollment decisions. All JEA youth also have access to homework help and tutoring as needed. Our mentoring activities are generously supported by Mass Mentoring Partnership.
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND YOUTH ORGANIZING
Lastly, JEA youth participate in regular civic engagement training on topics such as community organizing 101 and the basics of city government. A small group of these youth also take on leadership roles in community organizing campaigns that impact our neighborhood and our city. JEA youth are currently co-leading their #BosTeenArts campaign to increase access to the arts for high school students in Boston.
With this special combination of education and career pathways, Afro-Latin arts, and civic engagement and youth organizing programming, youth are challenged to grow as artists, learn transferable skills, plan for their futures, and become the changemakers that our community needs.