APEX Community Advancement, Inc. was formed for the expressed purpose of supporting, innovating and creating programs and services focusing on the needs of young people from age 5 through 25 in our communities. Our first goal and major project was to create a flagship youth/teen center and arts venue.
The center services children, primarily ages 12 to 18, during the day, with special activities and programs in the evening targeted to teens and young adults between 15 and 25. Mentorship training for older teens and young adults is offered side by side with our afternoon programming. We purposely place every activity center, every piece of furniture, to allow small groups to interact with each other. Volunteers circulate, and facilitate positive social interaction, teaching the necessary verbal and non-verbal communication skills to resolve conflict and develop relationships. Homework help, tutoring, computer access, non-violent video games, a pool table and indoor and outdoor team sports and recreation are offered to allow the kids to experience real-life encounters in a safe and structured environment. Journaling is encouraged, art supplies and stations are abundant, and a musical stage and open microphone provides the opportunity to be noticed above the crowd in a positive atmosphere. Conflicts are often resolved with a game of pool, a football game, or a Dance Off. We do offer classes in acting, art, music and dance, but truly the majority of our best work is done teaching the kids how to look at the world and their fellow human being in a different way. The over-riding theme is “Reconciliation, Never Retaliation”. This type of social learning through behavior modeling has been shown to be one of the most effective means to develop high and long-term success in diverse demographics. The APEX allows children and teens a positive, supervised, and structured atmosphere to play, learn, work, and dream. APEX NOLA hopes to become a pilot and flagship model for other centers across the United States.