The Cycle Breakers Coalition’s mission is helping to break the cycles of poverty, incarceration and trauma through programs providing mentoring, conflict resolution skills, character development, survival skills, leadership training and more.
Lafayette Parish has a high percentage of families who struggle to afford basic necessities: housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation. According to the United Way of Acadiana, 40% of families in Louisiana and 36% in Acadiana (more than 54,000 families) are barely able, and often unable, to afford living expenses. With poverty comes instability and trauma. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a lot of parents, particularly mothers, out of the workplace. High-quality after school programs will help parents to re-enter jobs. The Cycle Breakers Coalition seeks to meet this need by providing the Young Leaders of Lafayette After School Program, based on the successful model of the Young Leaders Summer Camp.
In the summer of 2021, the Cycle Breakers Coalition provided the Young Leaders of Lafayette Camp program: a June session and a July session. These camps included consistent mentoring, emotional support, communication skills, and social activities aimed at forming healthy relationships free of violence. Young Leaders campers took a tour of UL Lafayette that included seeing a dormitory, Edith Garland Dupré Library, and other notable spots on the UL camps, as well as trying on graduation regalia. Throughout the camp sessions, guest speakers came to talk to the children and youth, including Cheylon Woods, Director and Archivist of the the Ernest J. Gaines Center; Carlos Harvin, Director of Minority Affairs for Lafayette Consolidated Government, Joshua Edmond, minister and community activist; Hollis Conway, Director of Parks, Arts, Recreation, & Culture for Lafayette Consolidated Government, and others.
The Young Leaders children themselves inquired about the possibility of expanding the summer camp into a year-round after-school program, and Cory Levier, the director and CEO of the Cycle Breakers Coalition, agreed to try to bring this program to fruition. This after-school program will not only be a safe place for children and teenagers to spend the afternoons; it will be an opportunity for life-changing interventions that present new paths for these youth. It will serve as consistent, strong support for children who need it most. The Young Leaders Summer Camp is already a successful program with many community partners, both public and private, including O Baked It, Twins Burgers and Sweets, Nyper Industries, Lafayette Consolidated Government, and UL Lafayette. This camp has already helped children in Lafayette. With financial support, the Cycle Breakers Coalition can provide more help to more children. This program is vital to the short-term and long-term physical and mental health and safety of children in our community.
The Price Tag
The Cycle Breakers Coalition requests $250,000, which would allow the program to run for two years.