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UYFA Overview


Through leadership, character and cross-cultural service and development, Urban Youth for Africa seeks to empower and inspire economically disadvantaged teens to serve and lead in their community and around the world.


Urban Youth for Africa is a program of the Kalamazoo Deacons Conference, a non-profit located in Kalamazoo, MI.

This program began in January 2009 as a desire to creatively and purposefully impact underprivileged youth in Kalamazoo by giving them a chance to step out of their circumstances, and realize the incredible power they possess to change their world for the better.

The Program

Urban Youth for Africa creates a rare opportunity for urban teens to engage in an eight-month program allowing the students experiences to step out of the world as they know it. Each student will test out and expand their service and leadership skills through investing in themselves, their community and in their world, (as they spend two weeks serving in Africa) . The students will be provided with avenues for identity development through Gallup’s Strength Finders and other exercises allowing them to focus on and develop their God given gifts and abilities.

Urban Youth for Africa will broaden their world view by delving into an in-depth study of Third World poverty in Africa today as well as its implications in education, life expectancy, human rights, water and food availability as well as the ramifications of colonialism, corruption, and civil war on a culture.

Areas of Focus and Development

  1. Identity Development
  2. Service
  3. Leadership and Team Building
  4. Cross-Cultural Exchange

The Result

It is our expectation that the Urban Youth for Africa students as well as the teens we partner with in Africa will have an expanded world view through which they are inspired and renewed to maximize their sphere of influence.

The Outcome
Teens participating in Urban Youth for Africa will:

  • Advance and utilize educational opportunities given to them.
  • Identify and develop career direction.
  • Have increased cross-cultural awareness.
  • Provide on-going service, leadership and community involvement in the area of social justice