C.A.P.E. League is a comprehensive, year-round program created to fully integrate the lives of young people in the DC metro area with a broad education and great opportunities that will influence them positively. The program’s strategy is to reach out to youth who are not responsive to other programs, or in special situations, and engage them per their interests in the arts, entertainment, sports or media– while developing them in a variety of other key areas. It is designed to provide an outlet for both fun and enrichment, while providing the pathway for personal growth. The League aims to be a part of its members’ entire adolescence, serving them throughout their formidable years.
C.A.P.E. is an acronym for the components of the League and what we focus our activities on:
- C – Community Involvement
- A – Arts, Entertainment, Sports & Media
- P – Personal Development
- E – Educational and Professional Enrichment
The League is geared toward youth ages 11-17, from underserved communities, who may not be exposed to or able to afford to take part in productive and diverse activities. We are an inclusive program open to all youth who wish to welcome new opportunities. However, we particularly recruit youth who are classified as “at-risk”; within the foster care system; have ADHD, developmental or learning challenges; are experiencing self-esteem, social or behavioral issues; or part of single parent and/or lower-income families. We aim to provide an outlet for stimulating occupation; while presenting activities that educate and enhance them beyond the classroom. Throughout membership, they are introduced to the business of entertainment and sports; as well as the performing, literary, and visual arts.
C.A.P.E. League Membership
C.A.P.E. League provides year-round enrichment, serving children and teens with weekly activities, field trips, projects, classes, mentoring and other opportunities. The mission is to provide youth with the resources, self-esteem and skills that will help positively shape and develop them in the following categories: Academic Advancement, Arts Exposure, Athletic Activity, Career & College Exploration, Civic Involvement, Community Outreach & Volunteerism, Creative Expression & Discovery, Entertainment & Sports Industry Exposure Cultural Experiences, and Personal & Social Development. Membership includes weekly activities and also includes the following:
- Tutoring and academic enrichment through the school year & summer
- Structured arts, entertainment, media & sports programming and instruction through the year
- Mentor or mentor groups that addresses their personal growth and/or professional interests
- Recreational and educational field trips; Out-of-State Trips/ Overnight Member Retreat
- Free or reduced summer programming and after-school activities through our partnerships
- Group volunteer activities and community service projects
- Academic, professional and personal enrichment components (see below)
- Relationships with National Alliance of African American Athletes, Howard University, Monumental Sports, Technology Playground, National Association of Black Female Executive in Music and Entertainment, Radio One, Essence Magazine, BET and other organizations
- Weekly meals and monthly “Dinner with the Director” outings; Monthly Bring a Friend outings
In the effort to be involved with the entire environment of each member, we support their current endeavors, help them find summer jobs and internships, and align them with great opportunities outside of the League
C.A.P.E. League Special Components
To compliment our activities, we aim to employ other positive strategies to keep them engaged and occupied.
CAPE Away: We value diversity of experience and CAPE Away presents an opportunity for members to get out of the DC area. These trips help members experience new environments – and also provide a fun, educational, cultural or service experience. We had an Annapolis/Baltimore tour –which included visits to four universities, a Disney screening premier, dinner with a group from Ohio and visits to the Baltimore Aquarium and Blacks in Wax museum. We also treated the kids to a sports/academic conference in Los Angeles for three days – where we toured the city, did an NFL camp, attended an awards ceremony, volunteered, had a game night with the guests, and met various professionals and pro-athletes. We have been to New York several times. We also had a day long ski-excursion. In 2015, we will have out first wellness retreat in Utah with NFL player, Lorenzo Alexander.
Group and Research Projects: Each year, members work on a special project as a group. The project serves as a learning opportunity, chance for members to use and enhance skills, and an occasion to build self-esteem, team spirit and sense of accomplishment. In the past, we’ve done a talent show and ran a CAPE Mall. Our last project was the production and sale of their own CD. Each member is also guided to do research or educational projects. We’ve done Women’s & Black History Presentations, Smithsonian Scavenger Hunts, International Food Fair and International Non-Profits projects. They are currently working on an Arts & Culture Magazine.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math): In summer 2014, CAPE League launched a permanent initiative to engage members in STEAM. The element kicked off with a Microsoft partnership – which allowed the kids to visit the DC office for the day and take part in classes for Powerpoint, digital media, game coding, etc. The kids are also participating in science festivals, automotive projects and urban farming activities.
Summer Programming: Each summer, CAPE League continues to provide Saturday programming. However, we also partner with existing weekday programs which CAPE members are eligible to participate with; without further fees or applications. This allows members to have opportunities to interact with other programs as a group, and helps guarantee them summer activity. We also assist in finding jobs and internships.
Program Perks & Points: To keep members motivated, the League offers “perks” to celebrate behaviors we value. We rewards things like school performance, community service, demonstrated learning from activities, improved in behavior, team competitions, etc. Perks include movie passes, concert tickets, gift certificates, money and special opportunities, etc. Members gain points throughout the year to gain these perks. At the end of each year, Leaguers participate in a ceremony where they are awarded for achievement through the year (community service; academic achievement and progress; personal development; member of the year, etc.).
College Prep and Senior Offerings: Basic League membership ends at age 17, but it’s important to help our older members in special ways. We have an extensive college exploration program – which has included day college tours to Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, throughout DC – including the U.S. Naval Academy. Members also enjoyed a week long HBCU college tour that explored 8 universities along the East Coast with a trip to Universal Studios in Florida. Their senior project consists of assignments based on the particular career or life interests of the individual member. We also offer SAT prep, college fairs, internship help and other prep services for those ages 15-17.
GYSD Service Project: In addition to our regular service projects, CAPE members engage in one large community project for Global Youth Service Day. In most years, they held CAPE League Feeds DC – a project where members design and manage the activity – geared towards using food as a means to serve the community.
Enrichment Series and Other Programming: Through partners and on-site, we aim to offer after-school or other programming. These have included and will include Capoiera, Painting, Book Club, Photography, Cooking and general tutoring. Our enrichment series is designed to help members gain skills, interests and education that would provide even more new options. A series revolves around a particular field or (from 4-20 weeks). A curriculum may include classes, workshops, field trips, panel discussions and/or meeting with related professionals. Past/upcoming enrichment series include: Acting Classes, American Sign Language, Entrepreneurship, Piano Lessons, etc.
The mentoring component is an integral part of the C.A.P.E. League. It is designed to provide each member with a positive adult or mentoring group that they can talk to, be influenced by and learn from. We have three levels of mentoring: individual, theme and group mentoring. Individual mentors are selected professionals from a variety of fields who have proven to be outstanding members of the community, by way of their personal conduct and desire to help youth. These mentors are paired based on the careers, hobbies, and background – and how they match with a would-be mentee. Theme mentors are groups we partner with that represent a certain field (i.e. Howard Dance team, EPP – a group of entry-level professionals in entertainment fields; college football team). These organizations come in to provide guidance and instruction, in their represented field, to CAPE members as a team. Finally, “life skills mentoring” involves multiple CAPE members matched with a group of mentors – based on gender, lifestyle, interests or other commonalities. The kids come together for workshops in self-esteem, nutrition, personal relationships, proper behavior, peer pressure, parent issues, etc. These partnerships makes way for group outings and bonding activities.
Unlike many traditional mentoring programs, C.A.P.E. League focuses as much on professional/talent development as we do on personal development.
2006 – 2014 Individual Mentors:
Angie Gates General Manager – Warner Theater
Andrew Herbst Event Planner/Concert Promoter
Brandi Dunnegan Film/Television Publicist – Allied Public Relations
Charlene Brown Celebrity Stylist/Salon Owner
Crystal Hudson Marketing Manager – Washington Mystics
DJ Cuzzin B Popular Club/Party DJ
Erica Woods Traffic Manager – Discovery Channel
Ericka Boston Editor – Sister 2 Sister Magazine
Greg Yancey Entertainment/Corporate Attorney
Kareema Cockrell Assistant Editor – Sister 2 Sister Magazine
La’Tasha Mitchell Executive Assistant – TV One
Laiah Idelson Program Assistant – Center for Interfaith Action
Maria Giovanetti Account Executive – Washington Mystics
Maria Lloyd Attorney
Marta Stoepker Congressional Staffer
Monique Davis Marketing Manager – Atlantic Records
Natasha Rennie Celebrity Publicist
Nichole Seabron Attorney
Nicole Blake Reporter – Federal Times
Nkeshi Free Marketing/PR Coordinator – Plexus
Rachel Newman Principal/Business Consultant – MG Sandbox
Rashard Reed Mid-Atlantic Artist Development Coordinator – Sony-BMG