XYZ stands for “Extreme Youth Zone” and it’s our most popular program at E=MC2. XYZ is an after school centric program that runs during the school year from 2:45pm until 5:30pm (it will be different this year as we adapt to the new Covid situation). Typically students will walk down the hill from PA to come to the space. We see all kinds of kids and we see a good diversity of adults as well as mentors in our community bring their mentorees to the center for some hanging out time.
There’s tons to do but the biggest thing is that it’s really a kids space, we call it The 3rd space and it’s something that we continue to define WITH the kids that come. What’s clear so far is that it’s NOT SCHOOL and it’s NOT HOME. This definitive “negative” allows for a lot of creativity, freedom of expression and exploration which we think is foundational to learning and to having positive life experiences.
One of the things we trust is that kids will be kids and with that respect we allow a lot of freedom during our XYZ time, kids often come and go as they please, settle disputes or are encouraged to settle disputes and are also held to a standard of participation that is universal for kids and adults. We try not to be authoritarian in our approach, allowing for mistakes and sometimes in disturbances that otherwise wouldn’t come up. We want these disturbances because they give us an opportunity to work with the kids, the community and ourselves to become better, more responsible and compassionate people and members of a greater community.
Since our 1 year birthday last December 3rd, we’ve been able to compare our numbers from week to week. Check out the chart below for an update on how many kids are coming through after school and how it compares to last year.