"I wish someone would pick us up sometime, so we can play outside" - A quote from the child who inspired OUR KIDZ UNITED, INC. & The OKC Summer Youth Explosion Program.
"James" is from a single-parented home where his mother works several jobs to make "ends meet". She attends college at night to make a better life for herself and her children. During the summer, while she worked and attended college from 8am to 9:30 pm each day, an older, teen-aged relative was to "babysit" her three younger children. Having just finished the school-year, the well-behaved children were excited and looking forward to enjoying their summer break. Instead, they were instructed: "Do NOT go outside", "Do NOT open the windows or doors, because there are people waiting to take advantage of young children who are at home alone". Now, they could only look forward to being chaperoned by the TV and video games, since this young mother could not afford to pay for day camps for 3 children. Even if she could afford summer camps, who would provide transportation for the children to attend? For many, this same parental crisis exists every summer. OUR KIDZ continues to address this issue, while encouraging children to be physically active, involving them in performing arts, adult mentoring, providing them with free music and dance instruction, nutritious meals and field outings. Additionally, scientific data has well-documented the benefits of music education and exercise on academic achievement and the disparity among youth from lower socioeconomic statuses. OUR KIDZ affords parents and the general community, with FREE or low-cost opportunities to engage & support OUR children. A study featured in the Journal Social Science Quarterly* (Feb 11, 2009; Source Wiley-Blackwell) substantiates the positive attributes of music and exercise on academic achievement.
Children aged 6- 18 yrs., participate in daily, structured music and dance rehearsals with life application themes and character lessons. Weekly field outings foster trusting relationships with program peers and adult mentors. Interactive lesson plans develop leadership qualities and moral values. Our Kidz youth participants have demonstrated improved academic achievement from our mentoring, music & dance instruction, leadership training, and involvement in meaningful community service..
The OKC Thunder NBA Organization and professional athletes Steven Adams & Kevin Durant have provided tickets for program participants to attend several home games. Our Kidz participants have also received gifts, books and access to other team sponsored special events. Many of the disadvantaged youth we serve, would never have these opportunities without the support of The OKC Thunder and its players. The Thunder Drummers were featured at the Grand Finale Performance of Our Kidz Summer Youth Explosion.
MY BLOCK JAMZ is an outdoor festival, which features free food and carnival games, face-painting, horseback rides, 3-on-3 basketball contest, health screenings, wholesome entertainment and goods & services from local vendors. This wholesome event was created to celebrate and support children. We hope to strengthen their families by providing free health/dental services, by inviting professionals to supply information on financial management, credit repair, and home ownership, etc. Educational information is offered by representatives from area trade schools, colleges & universities. For many children, this is their first introduction to advanced educational , trade and military opportunities.
Our Kidz United, Inc. has twice hosted live performances of The Light of Future Children’s Choir from Kenya, Africa. Our music & dance program participants were excited to perform with this amazing group of children, who travel across the United States to perform, in support of the work of The Maisha Project. Maisha works with abandoned, orphaned and vulnerable children in the rural villages just outside Kisumu, and in the Nyalenda slums within Kisumu City, to empower them to transform their community. The Maisha Project invests in education, health, local entrepreneurs, and infrastructure/ community building projects. Our Kidz United, Inc. is proud to participate in this mutually-enriching cultural exchange.
We want OUR children to thrive, especially, those in at-risk areas. Consistent community involvement is crucial for a society to succeed. Unfortunately, many in the areas we serve, harbor fear or mistrust of law enforcement. Many have not been made aware of the value of their own civic involvement. Our Kidz United, Inc. hosts community events which are designed to promote positive interaction and engagement with local law enforcement entities, along with state & city officials. Together, we can make our communities the best they can be!
FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!