Geena Young, founder of nonprofit NexxtOne said she wanted to give students in the Washington area an opportunity to transform the communities that they come from.
“The reason for starting this organization was to give young people middle and high school students in underserved areas in the District of Columbia an opportunity at an amazing future,” said Geena Young, founder of nonprofit NexxtOne.
NexxtOne Academy, founded in 2019, allows Black and Latinx students to explore STEAAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Athletics and Math) programs to further increase interest in those fields.
The academy offers numerous programs such as field trips, an arts scholarship and a speaker series. The scholarship program is offered to high school students. Students who apply to the scholarship program are looked at with a holistic approach. The scholarship is merit-based and catered toward students who are hoping to have careers in the arts which include: theater, music, dance, photography, design, fashion and fine arts.
“Normally when you hear about scholarships they go to people who have a 4.0, but we wanted to look at it from a different perspective,” said Young.
“The academy looks for people who work extremely hard and have made great improvements,” said Young.
The speaker series program works with high schools in the Washington area and allows students to hear from a person working in different fields. Last month, McKinley Tech High School students got to hear from speakers in numerous fields such as engineering, journalism, culinary arts, entrepreneurship, health, and sports and entertainment.
Around 75-100 students attend the speaker series to hear the stories of professionals in the industry.“They’re coming in there hearing those stories and they are so pumped and so excited after they hear what the possibilities are in terms of a career plan,” said Young.
NexxtOne also offers financial literacy workshops. It wants to expose the youth to the importance of having good credit, paying bills on time, and student loans.
Washington, Maryland and Virginia schools serve as the nonprofits largest partners. Other partners are businesses within the area that want to help sponsor the nonprofit. The annual golf tournament helps raise money for the nonprofit.
The field trip program serves as an extension of the speaker series and takes students to places they’ve never been. Some places include the African American Museum of History or art galleries around the city.
“A lot of these kids haven’t been out of their neighborhoods in a lot of cases,” said Young. NexxtOne emphasizes exposing children and teens in the Washington area to greater possibilities.
One person from the program who was on the field trip program decided to look into becoming an art curator as a career. “We see and hear those types of stories and it is so rewarding,” Young said. NexxtOne’s vision which can be found on the website states that it serves a purpose to create equity opportunity access integrity to students within the Washington area.
Coming soon the program includes: HBCU college prep, peer tutoring, leadership training, after-school code club and life skills courses.
According to their website, NexxtOne mostly serves Washington Wards 6,7, and 8 and wants children and teens of those areas to be able to achieve their dreams and help them along the way. Young started the nonprofit to give back to the community and help others reach their goals.
“I had a really amazing childhood parents exposed me to the arts and all kinds of activities, but a lot of these kids through no fault of their own haven’t had that experience,” said Young.
NexxtOne’s mission is to give students the opportunity to learn about different careers and expose them to educational opportunities inside and outside the classroom and gives them the ability to explore Washington.