AwAction Network Inc. is
a 501(c) (3) Maryland based
non- profit organization focused on improving economic, social, and behavioral outcomes for youths and women
Program: MENTOR N MOTION
online youths mentoring program for high school students in USA born to immigrants from West Africa, particularly Senegal.
AwAction Network was created for one main purpose: empower youths and women in USA from West African descent ameliorate their behavioral, economic, and social outcomes. This is implemented with educational, informational, and social programs that enable our community youths and parents to make informed behavioral, educational, and career path decisions. We raise awareness and provide solutions to some of the issues immigrants and their children face in USA, such as educational and career path guidance, access to information that is meaningful to them, and cultural adaptation. Programs' outcomes have positive influences on youths, parents/guardians, and the community.
My desire to contribute to my community’s growth and my childhood triggered the birth of AwAction Network Inc. to improve or sustain behavioral, economic and social health, leading to community betterment and welfare. As far as I can remember, I have been attracted to empowering children, youth, and women. I think this is traceable to my upbringing in Senegal (West Africa). I grew up in a culture in which women and children's voice is very feeble.
As a child, I questioned this system/culture but who was I to drive changes? I was a voiceless child whose attempts to communicate her viewpoints were considered acts of rebellion. Years later, I continue to be this awkward person who is always second guessing herself; however, I do not let this uncertainty paralyze me or keep me away from my goals. I have worked at overcoming obstacles, such as bridging the cultural gap that stem from my upbringing and residing in USA, where I transitioned to adulthood. I completed my education in 2020 and earned a Doctoral Degree in Public Administration with a specialization in Program Administration. It took me a while to reach my goals due to cultural adaptation challenges, having to figure things out by myself, lack of financial assistance or ignorance about my options that led me to engage in two or three jobs at times to support myself and my educational goals. I felt that my sacrifices, challenges, and hardship should not be vain, rather they are to serve the future generations.
In 2018, I met a young lady from our community who shared that she was in a career path that was not promising; her current environment was unhealthy and not conducive to growth but she did not know how to change her career path. Short after meeting her, I met another young lady who was in the same situation. I asked myself who else was in the same position. I surveyed the community to identify youths and parents’ pain points and the answers were overwhelming; many parents said they struggle with guiding their children due to their limited understanding of the US educational and career development system and also the language barrier. On the other hand, cultural adaption challenges and a gap between children and parents cripple their relationships and lead to conflicts. The needs and cultural dynamic for these young adults, who were born and raise in the United States, are completely different from their parents’.
I realized that our community's youths need an exposure to a different environment with people who successfully bridged the cultural gap and understand what they and their parents are going through. Our organization ensures that community youths are guided during their high school years to promote retention and post-high school tenure to guide their career path.
“1 in 3 young people will grow up without a mentor.
Young adults who were at-risk for falling off track but had a mentor are 55 % more likely to enroll in college;
78% more likely to volunteer regularly;
90% are interested in becoming a mentor;
130% more likely to hold leadership positions.
Students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class. (Public/Private Ventures Study of Big Brothers Big Sisters).
We envision a community that is dynamically strengthened by a knowledge transfer that is adapted to the needs of the West African immigrant community and their children. Tailoring information to meet the needs will create a comfort zone for positive communication and for forming leaders that will nurture succession planning for the upcoming generations.
We guide our programs' participants make informed decisions related to education, career, and cultural adaptation. This is facilitated through education, mentoring, and social programs that inform and aim to improve the behavioral, social, and economic outcomes of our participants.
Improve Behavioral Outcomes
Program participants have access to live trainings, webinars, and Video-On-Demand (VOD) from our Learning Management System.
The trainings are targeted/customized to meet our community's needs, appropriate, and user friendly. They lead to positive behavioral changes.
Better Social Outcomes
Our programs' participants feel confident about making informed decisions and saving time and money on their targeted interests.
We expose them to experts with common interests to foster knowledge sharing. in addition, we create informational programs and trainings to complement their current knowledge/experience .