PIQUA — While a number of kids had Presidents’ Day off, many were welcome to learn about African history at the Piqua Branch of the Miami County YMCA’s Black History Month event, “A Taste of Africa.”
Abigail Ngoza-Jordan, teen leadership director and a native of South Africa, led the program at the Piqua Branch Richard E. Hunt Family Youth Center, encouraging local teens to embrace cultural diversity.
“We’re celebrating Black History Month, embracing our diversity. We are more alike than different,” Ngoza-Jordan said. “I think if the kids understand diversity, then they’ll be better citizens and be able to embrace one another and love one another and care about one another, so I think this is important.”
Fifth to 12th graders were welcome to walk in anytime Monday afternoon to learn about African history, from exploring different animals from the continent to seeing different African artifacts. A number of stations were set up throughout the family youth center, including a station for the kids to make peanut butter by hand from scratch using African cooking utensils.
Another station was host to bead necklaces, art, and other African artifacts, such as fans and slingshots, as well as books about African history, including one about Nelson Mandela. Ngoza-Jordan also had different African currency available for students to see.
“Then we have the music station, where they’re going to play drums,” Ngoza-Jordan said.
Ngoza-Jordan also used the event to encourage the kids to follow their dreams.
“One of the things we have is the ‘Never Give Up’ station, so we’re going to talk about self-esteem, never giving up, believing in yourself, and following your dreams,” Ngoza-Jordan said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, as young as you, you guys can believe in your dreams, and whatever you do, never give up.”
By learning about a different culture, Ngoza-Jordan said that the kids will be able to be more accepting of other people as well as learn about themselves.
“Cultural diversity is very important, and I think if the kids are exposed to a different culture, then they begin to better understand themselves and understand other people and love other people,” Ngoza-Jordan said.
Particularly for teens, she said, “who are the future leaders of tomorrow, if they can embrace diversity at an early age, then that’s going to really help our country to be a better place.
“So I truly feel that this is really very important.”
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336