| Program: || Diversity Team Project, San Jose, CA |
| Contact(s): || Ms. Akemi Flynn, Youth Services Division Director, Catholic Charities: (408) 283-6150 |
| Purpose: || To use positive cultural pride and cross-cultural understanding to promote youth leadership and racial understanding |
The Diversity Team Project (DTP) was created in 1997 in response to the racial tension among Vietnamese and Hispanic youth at Independence High School in San Jose, California. Catholic Charities-Youth Services Division (YES), Filipino Youth Coalition (FYC) and Ujima all collaborate through DTP. Coordinated through the City of San Jose's Department of Parks Recreation and Neighborhood Services, DTP provides youth at Independence High School with a broader perspective on race relations and an understanding of the similarities among different cultures.
DTP collaborators provide recruitment, intake and enrollment services for youth who participate in the project. YES works with Vietnamese and Hispanic youth, while FYC works with Filipino youth and Ujima with black youth. There are two essential components in the project: youth leadership training and a multicultural leadership council. Individual and family counseling, homework assistance, support groups, sports and recreational activities are also offered. Each collaborating organization coordinates an after-school leadership training program with activities focused on developing a positive sense of cultural identity and cross-cultural awareness. Students meet weekly in an after-school activity or workshop, in groups of 15-20 students. The activities work to develop respect, team building, communication and conflict resolution skills. The group sessions boost each student's cultural pride and self-esteem. Representatives from each ethnic youth group form a multicultural leadership council to plan activities to improve cross-cultural understanding and communication among their peers.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
This project has improved relationships among students at Independence High School. The program sponsors have also seen an improvement in youth attendance records, grades and the general behavior of the youth participants. Parents in the community support the alternatives the program offers to their children. Numerous activities planned by the leadership council and the collaborating organizations have brought participants together to share cultures. Since its inception, more than 100 youth have been brought together and taught respect for different cultures.