Metropolitan State University hosted the ANEW Black Arts Movement (BAM) Summer Youth Program on campus for the fourth consecutive year, through co-sponsorship with the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship (ICES).
ANEW BAM was founded in 2013 by Kevin Robinson, executive director, and Vanessa Young, program director and Metropolitan State graduate. The organization is dedicated to advancing the academic success of youth and families through culturally responsive arts education, social emotional learning, and African American history and culture. By adhering to core values that include community, integrity, compassion, curiosity and self-determination, ANEW BAM youth participants develop skills and self-awareness to reach their fullest potential and become change agents within society.
Young mentioned that her experience as a student program coordinator at ICES led to the collaboration between Metropolitan State and ANEW BAM. ICES sponsored ANEW BAM's youth program in the summer of 2014. Both Young and Robinson credit the help they received from Metropolitan State to make ANEW BAM's Summer Youth Program successful.
Over the years, participation in the the youth program has grown from ten kids to more than 60 kids in 2017. Young said, "80 percent of the kids come from the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood, and 20 percent from areas as far as Shakopee and Wisconsin." The kids ages range from 5 to 14 years old. Word of mouth plays a significant role in promoting the program. As to why the program has grown over the years, Young says that, "a lot of the parents have never been to college. So they are trying to find an exposure [for their kids] to college. The kids from this neighborhood get to take ownership of a space they consider theirs. Young students taking responsibility."
Robinson explains that "our program is really structured. A vast majority of our staff are college students. [The kids and our staff] have a big brother, little sister relationship."
ANEW BAM's Youth Summer Program is income based and open to everybody. This summer the program ran from June 12 to July 21. Kids spend anywhere between eight to nine hours weekdays at Metropolitan State, and Fridays are reserved for field trips.