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The Young Leaders Academy at the Racine Family YMCA received much-appreciated support this week in the form of a $25,000 grant from the Racine Community Foundation.

“The YLA is a year-round program dedicated to reversing the negative trend of low academic achievement and stereotypical behavior of youth ages 7-14 from low-income communities in Racine,” said Ahmad K. Qawi, program director, in a written release.

The release from the Y details how the funds will help YLA continue making a difference in the lives of minority youth who live in underserved neighborhoods.

Specifically, the program aims to help students understand the importance of reading and staying in school; recognize how “caring, honest, integrity, responsibility and restraint” play a role in their everyday lives and impact their futures; resolve conflicts; and explore careers in areas where they’ve expressed an interest.

Students in grades two through five at Wadewitz, SC Johnson, Fratt and Giese Elementary schools and 21st Century Preparatory School get help with homework and participate in activities for 36 weeks during the school year and six weeks during the summer.

Middle school students – who must have a 2.5 grade point average in 5th grade – participate in Career Discovery Solutions, a joint program between the Racine Rotary Club and the Racine Unified School District that helps adolescents “make informed decisions about choosing a career path.”

For more information about the Racine Y’s Young Leaders Academy, please contact Qawi at 262-898-4763 or