Family smiling together at graduation

YMCA Black Achievers

YMCA Black Achievers is a multicultural effort to create equity in education as well as in the workplace by motivating African American/Black and other minority youth to develop and pursue high educational and career goals.

YMCA Black Achievers

Black Achievers Intro

Since 1979, the YMCA Black Achievers at the Chestnut Street Family YMCA has encouraged and inspired youth to pursue their educational and career goals. 

Through YMCA Black Achievers, youth gain a sense of self, raise their academic standards, build character, develop cultural competence skills, gain exposure to diverse career opportunities, engage in community service opportunities and receive hands-on service learning and field experiences. YMCA Black Achievers participate in an education-based mentoring program designed to holistically develop youth in grades 9–12 to their fullest potential.

Looking for specific information? Use the links below to find what you're looking for.

 

Why the Y

  • SELF-ESTEEM

    When you feel good about yourself, you have the courage to try new things and have new experiences.

  • LEADERSHIP SKILLS

    The Y offers programs that mentor teens and young adults by exposing them to leadership opportunities.

  • COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

    The Y offers programs that introduce teens and young adults to community leaders and mentor opportunities.

  • CONFIDENCE

    Children gain the confidence they need to try new things, make new friends, and do well in school.

Locations
  • Sessions take place at multiple locations.
Starting Price

Starting at $85

Ages

Teens in grades 9-12

Schedule

Cluster sessions take place monthly on Saturdays at 9 a.m. during the program year. Please email [email protected] for specific details about all activities and special events.

Financial assistance is available. Some participants may be eligible to have their full program fee waived through designated grants funding. Complete the application (PDF) and program registration form and return to the Black Achievers office.

Teen reading book at YMCA programs for black youth

Financial assistance is available. Some participants may be eligible to have their full program fee waived through designated grants funding. Complete the application (PDF) and program registration form and return to the Black Achievers office.

At a Glance

Watch more Y stories

  • YMCA Black Achievers Program

    Through YMCA Black Achievers, youth gain a sense of self, raise their academic standards, build character, develop cultural competence skills, gain exposure to diverse career opportunities, engage in community service opportunities and receive hands-on service learning and field experiences. A key benefit of Black Achievers is the relationship formed between adult achievers and teen achievers during career cluster workshops.

Career Clusters

The YMCA Black Achievers program provides students with hands-on learning and enrichment opportunities in various professional areas. Youth gain resource tools and professional road map strategies to navigate towards opportunities for success in their career areas of interest. Cluster groups are led by professional adult volunteer mentors in the following cluster areas:

  • Arts

    Art cluster is all about molding the next generation of creative minds and innovative leaders. Achievers gain the confidence to develop their visions and bring ideas to life. Youth are exposed to various career disciplines of art including fine arts, performing arts, culinary arts, visual arts, photography, sculpture, fashion design, and more.

  • Business and Communications

    The world of business and communications is a big place with endless possibilities for our achievers. Young entrepreneurs and future leaders learn strategies for small business, marketing, and the art of supply and demand. They will learn the importance of communication and how connecting people, sharing ideas, and motivating cultural trends is essential to any successful organization. Youth are exposed to a broad range of career opportunities available in the fields of business and communication.

  • Computer and Technology

    Computer and technology careers are increasingly in demand in our global, inter-connected world. Experience careers responsible for generating, collecting, classifying, recording and analyzing information. Youth will gain strategies for being successful in any field of choice. You might just be the next start-up entrepreneur or tech giant.

  • Education

    Youth in this cluster are exposed to a variety of career opportunities in the education field. If you feel driven to make a difference and empower others, education is your opportunity to have a purposeful career changing the lives of others. Teaching, administration, and higher education are just some of the many careers youth will explore. Join the education cluster to get on the path to stimulating minds!

  • Engineering

    “Oh the thinks you can think if you only try…” Engineers make the world go around. Everything from running water or flying to your favorite vacation destination can’t happen without engineers. They link great ideas and scientific solutions to make a concept a reality. Youth in this cluster gain a better understanding of advancing technology, while exploring careers in engineering and other STEM related fields.

  • Health and Medical

    Is there a doctor in the house? It could be you, in the future. Explore careers relating to health and the business aspects of all medical services. This cluster is the perfect remedy for anyone interested in the medical or any allied health profession.

  • Law and Government

    Ever wonder how government works? What lawyers do? Here is your chance to find out. Learn about professions that deal with politics and law in our community, law enforcement, and government services.

  • Vocational and Trade

    The vocational and trade cluster provides young achievers the opportunity to explore their interest and discover what skills they have. Future trade leaders will gain exposure to education opportunities, internship and apprenticeship opportunities, and will be connected to a network field employer to assistance them with their career search. Achievers explore skills they need to develop to meet their goals.

Ready to Register?

Use the button below to see upcoming sessions that are currently available for online registration.

YMCA Black Achievers Awards Celebration

Black Achievers Celebration

Each year we gather to celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of local students and show appreciation for the professionals and community partners who support our program. This celebration typically takes place in late February and features local and national keynote speakers and personalities.

YMCA Black Achievers National College Tour

YMCA Black Achievers National College Tour

The YMCA Black Achievers National College Tour is a week-long experience for youth to engage in an enriching experience to help prepare them for the next level after high school graduation. This college tour typically occurs during Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Spring Break.

Youth will learn about money management, build positive relationships with new friends, learn how to respect one another. Students will also about college life, and economic sustainability for life after college. Youth will view firsthand campus student center, dormitories, classroom settings, and identify equity and cultural supports available to them through university services. Youth will also have exposure to the arts and other cultural experiences to further their overall development. At the end of the experience all students will be required to submit a written essay about their educational enrichment experience.

Open to students in grades 9-12 who are current participants in the YMCA Black Achievers Program.

National Achievers Summit

Achievers Summit

Taking place at the scenic YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in the mountains of Western North Carolina, the National Achievers Summit will provide valuable leadership development, life-enhancing skills and group interaction in a fun and exciting week. Adults will receive program and personal development, while also having opportunities to support and serve their youth achievers. Youth Achievers attending will engage in activities designed to improve academic performance, develop a positive sense of self, build character, explore diverse college and career options and interact with professionals and role models.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I volunteer?

How do I volunteer?

Volunteers are a crucial part of our programs, mentoring and guiding our students to become who they're destined to be. Interested in volunteering? View our volunteer opportunities (PDF) and complete a volunteer application (PDF) and submit via email to [email protected].

You may also complete an online volunteer application.

How do Black Achievers alumni connect back with the program?

How do Black Achievers alumni connect back with the program?

If you're an alum of our Black Achievers Program, please take a moment to complete this short form or email your contact information to [email protected] so that we can connect with you.

 

What's the history of Black Achievers?

What's the history of Black Achievers?

YMCA Black Achievers was founded in 1971 by members of the New York Harlem YMCA. Since the program’s successful inauguration, it has been established in 135 sites throughout the U.S. One of the largest is located at the Chestnut Street Family YMCA.

Since 1979, the YMCA Black Achievers at the Chestnut Street Family YMCA has encouraged and inspired youth to pursue their educational and career goals. Walter Barnes was the Executive Director of the Chestnut Street Family YMCA when the program began in Louisville. He, along with other visionary leaders, sought to prepare young men and women for the global workplace.

Are there any prerequisites to enroll?

Are there any prerequisites to enroll?

No scholastic requirement to enroll.

What kind of training will program participants receive?

What kind of training will program participants receive?

We offer leadership training seminars, college enrichment, community service projects and special events that include:

  • ACT/SAT Workshops
  • College tours
  • Scholarships
  • College and career fair
  • Company work site tours
  • Community service projects
  • Kwanzaa celebration
  • Annual awards banquet

What are Career Clusters?

What are Career Clusters?

Black Achievers provides students with hands-on learning and enrichment opportunities in various professional areas. Youth gain resources and professional roadmap strategies to navigate toward success in their career areas of interest.

Still Need Help?

Contact Us

For more information, contact us at [email protected] or at 502-587-7405.

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