The mission of the Nia Cultural Center, Inc.

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The mission of the Nia Cultural Center is to reinstate the role of the family and community in their responsibility to strengthen and improve the quality of life for our children by preparing them academically, culturally, mentally and physically to attain productive futures. To this end the children will be torchbearers toward progress

Our History

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In response to the growing problem of youth violence in the early 1990’s Nia Cultural Center has provided family and youth empowerment programs. Originally a Community Youth Development program funded by the Texas Department of Family Services, the Nia Cultural Center’s Family Strengthening and Empowerment program operated from 1996 – 2006.

The components that made up the Family Strengthening and Empowerment Program included mentoring and life skill training for youth via the Transformations Girls Rites of Passage Program, parenting skills building via the Family Rites of Passage, and support for both groups provided by partnerships with various community organizations and agencies

Since the summer of 2007, Nia sponsored the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School, a 6-week summer literacy, parent involvement, and social action program for youth ages 5 -18.

In February 2008 and 2009, Nia launched the Families and Schools Together Program, a substance abuse prevention and family strengthening program for families with children who attended two Galveston Independent School District Schools.  External evaluation of this evidence-based, model program revealed that this program, funded by the Mitchell Family Substance Abuse Reduction Initiative effectively improved parent engagement, parent/child relationships, and better school performance with fewer problem behaviors.

Youth from the Nia Cultural Center for several years embarked on the Shape Community Center’s Freedom Tour, a seven state tour of the south to retrace the Civil Rights Movement.  Students research the events and people related to the destinations and document their travels in a journal. A community presentation of this exciting and educational trip is developed by the students to inform the community of what they have learned. Destinations include key points in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Arkansas). Re-tracing the “Civil Right Movement,” students visit historical landmarks and Historically Black Universities. Some of the sites visited are Tuskegee University, Brown A.M.E. Chapel, the Voter’s Rights Museum, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, and the Symbolic March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge (this auspicious historical event was documented in the film “Selma” released in January, 2015). Civil Rights activists attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge on their way to Montgomery, Alabama. Young people are able to re-enact these moments in history by crossing the bridge with their group.

The World Is Your Stage.

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Nia continues to provide educational, cultural enrichment programming through the celebration and organization of cultural events such as Kwanzaa, Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and Juneteenth.

Become a volunteer

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Parent Meeting Support

Parents of Freedom School scholars are invited to several informational Parent Meetings during the summer. Help welcome, serve dinner, provide childcare, and clean up. We appreciate any way that you can support so that interns are free to attend to the parents.

On-Site Afternoon Activity Leader

Share a skill, hobby, or interest with scholars in a hands-on way. E.g. sports clinic, yoga, craft activity, cooking, etc.

Field Trip Chaperone

Accompany staff and scholars on field trips to local museums, parks, pools, etc. Volunteer pays for own entrance ticket if applicable and may be required to provide own transportation. Field trips usually occur on Fridays during June and July.

Supply Shopper

Shop for specific materials for curriculum activities. We provide a new shopping list each week for 6 weeks of summer. Sign up for one or more weeks. Reimbursement available.