Youth Online Discussing Justice

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About Y.O.D.J.

EYEJ engages middle and high school youth in programs designed to build community, develop their civic voice and civil discourse, develop social-emotional learning and promote social justice for its core program, the Discussion Series. Having served youth now in 13 schools and 4 recreation centers, new avenues for the Discussion Series have been requested by multiple entities for support our youth. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EYEJ responded quickly to our youth being out of school, and created the Y.O.D.J. program – Youth Online Discussing Justice.

Y.O.D.J. is a 12 week online Discussion Series program (8 weeks) with a Reflection event (4 weeks) for 6-8th grade youth to exchange ideas and perspectives in an online classroom with diverse and empowered community members, peers, and volunteers twice weekly. A customized copyrighted curriculum is provided to help develop social emotional learning for students by connecting youth to various resources androle models in the Cleveland area. One complete session of the Y.O.D.J. program consists of 24 events.

Topics

  • Toxic Stress
  • Exploring Money w/Federal Reserve Bank and Chase Bank
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Exploring Technology
  • Police and Youth Relationships w/the Cleveland Police
  • Achieving a Positive Mindset w/Case Western Reserve University Fowler Institute
  • Invest in Your Future: Entrepreneurship, College/Trade School
  • Exploring Violence w/the Cleveland Police
  • Reflection Event
  • Supplemental Topics: Gender Equality, Conflict Resolution and Coping Strategies, Exploring Power and Privilege, Exploring Civil Rights

Impact

74.1% felt valued and appreciated by others
93.2% agreed they learned something in the Discussion Series

Youths agreed that the Discussion Series conversations help them:

82.7% during school
80.3% outside of school
72.7% with friends
68.8% with teachers

Discussion Series has increased conditions for learning scores from 1-8% depending on the school.

Testimonials

“The students appreciate the open discussions between them and the facilitator. They can relate to topics and are interested in getting more information on certain topics.”

– Teacher at Mound Elementary School

“EYEJ is very beneficial to my middle school scholars at Fullerton. The discussion and conversation series they provided were very important regarding difficult social issues but were relative for our scholars. It allows for positive dialogue with speakers from all backgrounds in which the learning’s go beyond the school and reaches out into their environment and community. This therefore leads to positive change within and outside the classroom.”

– Kevin L. Payton, The Fullerton School of Academics Principal – CMSD

“The information that I learned today will make me a better person of tomorrow.”

– 8th grader from Mound Elementary School

“As an African American man, EYEJ provides me with an opportunity to help change the world through sharing my life with adolescent African American boys.”

– Brian Shields; Volunteer Speaker, Rev. & Staff Chaplain/Healing Services Coordinator of Cleveland Clinic
YODJ