Meet our Executive Director
My name is Beatrice Kiraguri – CEO/Founder of The African Young Dreamers Empowerment Program Intl. (AYDEPI). I realized significant gaps between our Immigrant youth and the surroundings immediately after I came to America in 2017. As a mother, nothing drains you much more than losing your child at a tender age due to avoidable circumstances. The first thing I thought was to involve the same youth and understand the problems before strategizing on the best ways to tackle and get the solutions. Of this, we conducted a need assessment and realized that the issues ailing our youth are issues that we term taboo in different minority groups and different cultures. The American system is not also on their side, considering they come from other cultures. The youth are vulnerable and in the critical physical and emotional growth process.
The youth at this age needs more support and guidance and a safe space to express themselves without fear of being judged, ridiculed, and victimized. For the past three years, I have seen them change and work towards their dreams; I have also seen them taking leadership roles in this program which is my core objective—the 20 years of experience working with vulnerable groups in Africa facilitated the quick interventions enabling this project’s flow and smooth running. I aim to see more young people taking leadership roles on all our projects and focusing on life to achieve future dreams.
AYDEPI’s mission lies in creating sustainable measures to build resilience in vulnerable African, African/American Youth through holistic investment. Our key areas of operation are education, socio-economic interventions, mental health awareness, substance abuse and prevention, suicide prevention, crime, homelessness, among other psychosocial factors that significantly affect African, African/American Youth in Washington State.
In 2019, We took an in-depth look at the African, African/American communities in Washington and conducted a need assessment on youth between 14 and 25 years. The most issues that the youth raised included mental health, drug & alcohol abuse, suicide, engagement in gang groups, fear, low or no resources to improve their lives.
We mapped out a plan to include vulnerable youth and get their perspective on which areas they needed to change, and involve them in advocating their rights.
AYDEPI’S STRATEGIC AREAS OF FOCUS
| Advocacy | Youth Mentorship and Leadership Development | Service Delivery |
| Mental Health and Wellbeing | Partnership and Collaboration |