Youth Action International’s priority programs for education are as follows:
LIBERIA EARLY CHILDHOOD INITIATIVE (Mother Goose Time): Sharing the belief that a strong early foundation is critical to the long-term growth and development of young people, YAI continues its Mother Goose Time program. Since the program started in 2009, we have successfully trained more than 2,500 teachers and provided educational supplies to 75,000+ pre-primary school children.
In the past, YAI held one major annual training for up to 500 teachers, but this year we reduced the number of participating teachers to 75 and spread out the trainings with multiple sessions. The teachers also received Mother Goose Time educational materials (school in a box) for about 2,500 students.
The program addresses both the problem of inadequate training as well as the lack of sufficient age appropriate materials.
In 2020, YAI will expand the program to include an EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER RESOURCE CENTER, which will be a comprehensive resource center that will serve as a centralized hub for training, shared educational manipulative, and computers for professional development as related to early childhood development. This center would serve multiple purposes:
- LENDING LIBRARY: Early childhood teachers will have access to diverse multi-sensory materials to use in the set-up of activity areas within their classroom. Such materials available for borrow include: puppets, children’s books, dramatic play toys, block and wheel toys, fine motor manipulatives, instruments and building materials. Teachers will choose which materials to borrow based on the child’s developmental level and areas of interest.
- COMPUTER LAB FOR TEACHERS: The Center will offer teachers access to computers, internet and basic computer classes to help teachers further their professional development through research and opportunities available online.
- COMMUNITY LIAISON LEADERSHIP HUB: The Center will bring together county liaisons for routine trainings, peer-to-peer learning and idea-sharing based on their county experiences. Additionally, teachers and county liaisons will have access to a range of books and resources on child development, advocacy and developmentally appropriate practice for deeper learning.
SHOES FOR SCHOOL: A pair of black shoes is a basic requirement for school children in Liberia. However, many families cannot afford this expense and therefore their children simply cannot go to school. We started this program and it was initially called Kids With a Sole. It was inspired by middle and high school students in New York and New Jersey who had heard Kimmie speak and wanted to make a difference.
More then ten years later, we continue to carry out their legacy through this program which we now call Shoes for School. Every year, YAI ships a 40 foot container of shoes and educational supplies. In 2019, we shipped and distributed 5,000 pairs of shoes for boys and in 2020 we shipped and equal number of pairs of shoes for girls.
In 2021, we have a goal to double our efforts and implement a combined shipment of 10,000 pairs of shoes for both boys and girls. This program can be supported by donating lightly used shoes to be disinfected and shipped or by making a donation to help us cover the the cost of shipping.