CONNECTING YOUTH. CONNECTING CULTURES. 

 

 

UMAC utilizes a strength and culturally based approach to promote resiliency in youth.  We provide peer connections between youth in Africa and youth in the U.S., particularly youth living in underprivileged communities. 

 

Youth growing up in high poverty communities are less likely to have opportunities to travel abroad or witness other cultures.  Most often, these adolescents learn about life through the distorted lens of television, music and internet. 

 

We provide at-risk, minority youth with exposure to their heritage through cultural activities, civic participation and short mission trips to Africa.

While we are all different and unique, we are also alike in many ways.  Opening youth up to the world around them is a way to expand their minds.

 

 

Stewardship

At UMAC, our organized community service activities teach youth how to be active agents of change.  We teach youth how to plan, participate and lead community service events. 

 

By teaching them how to give back, we also help them to identify their unique gifts and talents.  Most important, they are able to see how much of an impact they can have in the world.

 

Being actively involved in addressing social issues is life-changing.  Our community service and volunteer events provide a safe, fun way for youth to fellowship, give back to the community and learn how to be advocates for those in need. 

Resiliency

In parts of Africa, famines and droughts are common.  Children learn how to farm at an early age.  Extreme shortages in food and water results in severe, rampant hunger.

 

Farming, fishing, maintaining livestock (animals), and planting crops are essential daily activities in rural, undeveloped parts of Africa.  There are no drive thru fast food places, grocery stores, or restaurants.  Instead, families must farm to feed themselves.  Despite the pressure from hunger, poverty and lack of resources, most of these children are able to overcome adversities; they are strong and resourceful.  Even more, they are grateful and optimistic.

 

Our educational activities and short mission trips are designed to promote this type of resiliency in youth.  We want youth to always see their personal obstacles as opportunities to develop strength.  We want youth to know that adversities and obstacles create resiliency. 

 

Experiencing how peers in less developed cultures live daily and how they face obstacles helps to change the perspectives of youth.  Youth are able to better appreciate the simple things they may take for granted each day.  The youth are able to see that having clean water to drink is a luxury in some parts of the world.

 

The irony is that the undeveloped, rural parts of the world that do not rely on technology and material items,  has a strong sense of community and family unity.  Seeing children in undeveloped areas living happily without access to electric gadgets and material objects helps our local youth to reexamine their lives.   

 

Short mission trips allow them to learn about farming and using natural resources to create things.  At the same time, our youth are able to teach peers living in these countries about cultural norms in the U.S.

 

Culture

The world today is filled with distractions.  This is especially true for our youth.  With social media, technology and social events, most youth are unaware of the issues that go on outside of their communities.  Many have the "not my problem" perspective on life.  Yet leads to a lack of understanding and concern for humanity and social issues.

 

A critical aspect of effective leadership is being able to understand and connect with people from different backgrounds and cultures. 

 

At UMAC, we teach youth about different cultural practices in other areas of the world.  By learning about other cultures and environments, youth are able to better understand certain behaviors.  Most importantly, they are able to have a broader perspective on life.

 

Cultural awareness activities provide fun opportunities that increase tolerance and diversity among youth.  They learn about different foods, dressing styles, holidays and celebrations in areas outside of the U.S.  They learn about the lives and struggles of children their age who live in undeveloped parts of the world.  They learn how different their lives would be if they were natives living in those areas.  Our efforts seek to educate them on the culture and equip them with the leadership skills to work on addressing social problems throughout the world.