About the Queen Ann Nzinga Center, Inc.
Video Credit Emily Barger
Mission: Fostering children’s development by providing them with opportunities to connect within a community of peers and mentors, discover and hone their individual talents, achieve successes in a collaborative environment, and celebrate diversity.
About the Organization: Queen Ann Nzinga Center, Inc. (QANC) emphasizes artistic expression and collaborative interaction to enhance the growth of program participants. QANC is named for an 15th Century African queen who protected her people from being sold into slavery. The name symbolizes the organization's aim to empower young people with skills and experiences to thrive.
QANC strives to serve youth and our community at large by encouraging our youth to develop their confidence and talent and then highlighting their talents in a community focused-art-infused production for the greater community to enjoy.
QANC accomplishes its mission through multi-dimensional programming including:
• Facilitating Children's Mentoring and Enrichment Programs
• Storytelling and Performing Sacred Music (spirituals) of the African American Experience in American History.
• Collaborating in musical performances showcasing program participants and regional musicians.
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. Young people, male and female, ranging in ages between 5 through 17, 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 culture, learn about the rich African heritage and understand cultural diversity. These principles are then highlighted in the culmination of the year-long program in a Kwanzaa performance held at local Arts 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, children will have demonstrated improved self-esteem which often results in better performance in school, increased self- discipline, and a broader understanding of and appreciation for African culture as well as the distinct cultures that exist in the United States. The children build positive friendships that continue outside of the program. About 85% of the participant’s return each year.