Community Organizing and Advocacy
Gathering African community members for information sharing, community building and goal setting related to issues of shared concern; developing leadership capacity and skills; and promoting community engagement for positive impacts.
As this work is developed over the coming year, areas of attention are likely to include parental involvement in the school system, sustained dialogue with police, advocacy for effective human service delivery and other matters related to community well-being.
New American Africans’ youth program is vibrant because of the many strong partnerships we have formed:
- Three afternoons a week during the school year, our Youth Coordinator is in Concord’s middle or high school as part of their federally funded 21C after school programming, working with volunteers from St. Paul’s School who help students with specific homework struggles. They also play word games, helping newly resettled youth improve their English language skills.
- Two evenings a week, NAA runs an activities-based program aImmaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. By far, the most popular activity is our dance class. This free class celebrates African culture. Come to see them perform at our Friday Family Fun Nights!
- Our summer program offers youth a chance to continue to improve their English, and to build friendships across cultures. We provide opportunities for both newcomers and host community kids to read together and then to go on an adventure together. Last year, we spent a day at Monkey Trunks Aerial Adventure Park after reading Home of the Brave, a story about a Sudanese boy who had to adjust to life in Minnesota. In 2017, we held weekly literacy events at Keach Park. New American youth spent time reading out loud to host community volunteers, and then they played board games and chatted in English. The program ended with a trip to Gunstock to try out their high ropes course.
When a family is resettled, the federal government requires that the adults take the first available job. Too often, these are low wage and can barely meet basic needs. New American Africans is building relationships with area employers who offer training opportunities and a career ladder. If your business is interested in exploring a partnership with NAA, please contact us.
New American Africans invites you to join us in the important work of ensuring that Concord remains a welcoming community. Concord has helped generations of immigrants find a way to feel at home in Concord, and this continues today in the form of refugee resettlement in our community.
- We are a member of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition. This informal group of faith-based leaders and immigrant advocates come together to respond when refugees are threatened. In 2012, four refugee families found racist graffiti on their homes. Faith leaders and public officials came together to show that Concord is committed to being a safe and welcoming community for everyone. Love Your Neighbor also organizes community picnics, vigils and other actions to nurture support for an increasingly diverse community. Check out the organization on their Facebook page.
- Our Friday Family Fun Nights are a chance to share African culture with the greater Concord community. Three times a year, NAA brings in high quality African drummers who get the crowd up on their feet. A highlight of the evening is when NAA’s dance class performs. With free Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and traditional Somali meat pies, this is an evening that does just exactly what is promised: fun for the family on a Friday night. Look for our next event posted here. Friday Family Fun Nights are sponsored by Lincoln Financial, the Duprey Companies and Bloomin’time Flowers. We welcome new sponsors.
- Education opportunities: The American legal and education systems are complex, and quite different from what Africans experienced in their home countries. NAA hosts meetings with police and school officials, helping newcomers gain a deeper understanding of local policies and practices, and to build relationships with local officials and other leaders..
- End of the school year soccer parties: This is pick up soccer at its finest! We invite new American players, and players fromr local soccer clubs for an afternoon of soccer, food and fun in the park.
- English language learning: We help to connect newcomers to ESL resources in the city. We also work with NHTI’s International Students Program to expand the language reach of our staff. With their help, we can communicate with families from a wide range of language traditions.
- Multicultural Festival: This annual Concord tradition is part of Downtown Market Days, the last Saturday in June. The State House lawn and Capitol Street are filled with musicians, dancers, vendors and food from around the world. Check out their Facebook page.
Promoting Healthcare Access
NAA helps community members sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, as well as Medicaid.
Leadership Development: We recgonize the importance of helping members of the African community to build their leadership capacity. We have sent members to leadership trainings at the city and state level. If you are interested n learning more about how to reach your potential as a leader, please contact us.