A group of students and teachers in the Palm Springs Unified school district are reaching out to their community and peers to help create a deeper understanding of their culture.
The Junior Black Achievers is a collective that is offering academic enrichment, Black American and African history and mentors to the youth in the Palm Springs Unified School District ecosystem.
Three middle and high school teachers and staff coordinate monthly meetings with the students to create a trusting conducive environment to meet emotional and academic needs.
One of the educational mentors Alisa Everett, a teacher at Desert Hot Springs High, expresses JBA as a place where students can find their cultural identities.
“Junior Black Achievers is the group for middle school students as they make their way to highschool… because we want to get them young, we want them to know that these organizations exist on their campus and that they have a safe space,” says Everette.
Bryan Stephens, a Raymond Cree Middle School teacher says the meetings are a place for those feeling left out or behind to speak up and be heard. “It’s a safe place for them to be heard and take care of their mental health.”
The program is open to all students of color and cultures and ensures that no one will be out by supporting all backgrounds of the children they serve.
“We have a lot of students of mixed heritage, and a lot of students feel like they are not Black enough or I’m too Black, or they don’t know if they’re Black or Latino or White,” says Joi Cox a Palm Springs High School teacher.”
Cox went on to say that everyone is welcomed to the meetings because “it’s all of our histories.”
The meetings are open to parents and younger siblings of the participants as well.
For more information and for the organization’s upcoming meeting dates visit bit.ly/jba20-21.
The video incorrectly names Bryan Stephens as “Ryan” Stephens. This has been corrected in the web article.