African Culture Connection
African Culture Connection (ACC) provides African culture and art experiences that encourage an appreciation for the richness diversity brings to all. ACC increases cultural awareness and art education opportunities for low-income youth by providing culturally diverse, art-based in-school and after-school residency programs and performances in the Omaha metro area and beyond.
1) To build overall community awareness of African heritage and other diverse cultures.
2) To provide opportunities for and support positive development for at-risk youth, primarily African-American children, living around the area.
ACC combines a solid cultural arts curriculum with the expertise of contracted Teaching and Performing Artists in order to bring African music, dance, drumming, visual arts and culture to performance venues, schools, youth organizations and out-of-school time programs in Nebraska and Iowa. Familiarity with diverse cultures is a means to preventing stereotypes,
prejudice, and racism. The recent national rise in open displays of intolerance and race inspired violence demonstrates the dire need for organizations that educate others, particularly children and youth, about the value and contribution of various cultures. In our increasingly diverse society, cross-cultural literacy is essential for understanding and tolerance.
-- African proverb
ACC's programs build cultural awareness and deepen a young person's connection to the global community. African Culture Connection provides an authentic cultural component that may be otherwise missing from these young peoples' lives.
Teachers tell us they see a positive impact in student behaviors in the classroom. Young people learn to collaborate and to work as a team. Students learn to respect themselves and others.
ACC's most recent student residency evaluation surveys show that:
- 83% of students report understanding the meaning and history of traditional African music and dance following their residency programs.
- 75% of students agree that music, narrative dance, and art activities make everything in school more interesting.
- 64% feel better about themselves and had more confidence in their abilities because they participated in an ACC Residency Program.
Students we serve tell us we are making a difference:
- "Thank you for making me proud to be African!"
- "I really like to dance, when I dance it feels like I matter and people care about me."
- "I've always wanted to play the drum and I finally got the opportunity."
- "Before ACC I was shy and quiet, then after ACC arrived I was more confident in myself, and became more helpful and nice."
- "My confidence has changed so much, I went from being that quiet kid to more involved."
- "We all had to work as a team to get it right, some of us found it hard but we did it. We all got better."
- "Now I can get up in front of others and do things I never thought I could."
- "This was different from normal teaching because we learned through moves instead of books."