Lit Youth Foundation
Lit Youth was established in 2021 by educator, Saranja Hicks, who had long dreamed of this idea that would allow her to impact the lives of young children in ways that are often limited by a school setting. Many students need instruction that is more adapted to meet the demands of who they are as individual learners, which requires a skilled approach towards figuring out each student’s current level of ability, then designing a comprehensive plan for moving them further along the learning continuum. Moreover, the process involves addressing knowledge gaps and barriers to deeper understanding, which requires time that most classroom teachers unfortunately just don’t have. However, through the Lit Youth Foundation, students are able to get the personalized attention to learning that will propel them forward on their journey towards more independent and higher levels of learning.
As an educator and mother of two sons, Saranja is keenly aware of the disengagement with school that often happens, particularly with male students, and especially with Black boys. She, therefore, wanted to create opportunities for them to (re)engage, take ownership of their learning, and develop as leaders. Thus, the foundation was also born of the idea that by engaging boys of color, and specifically Black boys, in reading texts that are of high interest and relevancy to them, this rebirth and self-recognition of their inherent greatness would happen. Hence, the foundation’s B.L.A.C.K. Habits (Building Literacy and Activist Capacity in Kids’ Habits) Book Club came to be.
In essence, Lit Youth was established as a result of Saranja’s desire to empower children to recognize and embrace who they are, while also becoming who and what they want to be; and each program offering has been carefully designed with this purpose in mind.