Cierra Haynes, The Elevation Club

Date grant awarded: October 20, 2016

Cierra Haynes believes in elevating youth to reach their highest possible potential. Reflecting on the sometimes difficult lives of African American youth growing up in low-income areas of Los Angeles, she says that the day-to-day struggles faced by many students combined with an education system that is failing them can strip the color and vibrancy from their lives.

Through her program, The Elevation Club, she is putting the magic back into education for these young people. Starting with a program designed to help young people develop self-love, confidence, respect, and self-discipline, she has a vision for a safe space that will allow these youth to develop their creativity, imagination, and confidence through role-playing exercises, self-expression, reflection, and trust building among their peers. When life is tough, it is so easy to turn inwards and become isolated, but Cierra plans to help them build strong peer relationships and to help them learn that by supporting each other they will ultimately be stronger, happier, and more prepared for the future.

Youth Development Hub Leader, Jamila Banks, has been a long time mentor to Cierra and witnessed her flourish and grow into her work. She’s chosen to support this program with the flow fund grant to provide program materials and equipment to facilitate the weekly gatherings and workshops.