The Watoto program started in 1990 and uses the arts and an
Afro-centric based model (the seven principles of Kwanzaa) to foster a strong
positive self-image in children and youth.
Approximately 20 young people, male and female, ranging in ages between
5 through 17 and including all races and abilities participate in the program each
year. The focus of the program is to help the participants learn about strong
values, gain an appreciation of their culture, learn about their rich heritage
and understand culture diversity. These
principals are then used to develop the highlight of the program which is a Kwanzaa
performance held in a local venue for family, friends and community
members. The Kwanzaa Celebration is a
multi generational performance held the last week of December each year.
Upon completion of the program which includes the Kwanzaa celebration, children have demonstrated improved self-esteem, do better in school, gain self discipline, become more focused and have a broader understanding of and appreciation for African culture as well as there own culture. The children build positive friendships that continue outside of the program. About 85% of the participant’s return each year.