Trifecta, Inc. Teams up with TAP
Each year TAP’s youth programs help dozens of youth to go to college and assist many more to find career paths and join the workforce. In the process, we also help them to develop as people. This past summer we teamed up with Trifecta, Inc., an exciting local organization that works with youth across the state. Trifecta brought youth empowerment programming to TAP’s students and had a lasting impact on the young people in our community.
TAP: What kind of work does Trifecta do in the community?
Natasha Saunders: We curate programming and special events with the intent to develop folks in our community. We are a minority, women-led, youth empowerment organization. Everything we do is with the intent of giving back to the community, whether that’s adopting a classroom or providing scholarships to folks that are going into college, or doing career readiness. We want to pour into our youth and be a bridge and a light in a way that we may not have felt was there when we were growing up in Roanoke.
TAP: What kinds of activities do you do with students, including the TAP students?
Natasha Saunders: We have a curriculum that covers everything from paint parties to vision parties, creating vision boards, doing affirmation activities, and design contests. We do elevator pitches, college readiness, and how to advocate yourself; we do a lot of things that are to holistically develop yourself as a person. We’ve done workshops on the history of Virginia with minority leaders. We’ve had a really fun time designing all these programs. We do design based on need, but we have about 20 workshops that are already ready… We’ve probably done 50 workshops throughout the state of Virginia in just the last nine months.
Students Learn Self-Presentation
TAP: Some of the students in our program at TAP are coming from very hard life circumstances. Can you recall any lightbulb moments? Did you see a change in the TAP youth or see something click for them?
Robyn Mitchell: We had some students who may have not wanted to participate or might have thought a project was not cool. But by the end of it, they had fully engaged and were learning the importance of being collaborative.
We let our students know that everywhere you go, you are a walking brand. How you present yourself in a situation—people will remember that. Even after the [sessions with TAP students] have ended, [we’ve run] into these students in the community at a football game and they come up and say, “How are you doing, Miss Robyn?” They’re not using the slang, they’re presenting themselves as they want to be seen, they’re giving respect and they want to be respected in return.
That was a big moment for me post-program, seeing how one nugget may have stuck with someone to show up and always be a walking brand for yourself… That is an indicator that something may have clicked with the student that we’ve shared with them.
Collaborating to Reach Youth
TAP: Is there anything you think people in the community should know about Trifecta or TAP?
Robyn Mitchell: The community should know these two organizations in their own respective rights are passionate about helping to develop our young people. Both organizations focus on collaboration and how we can work together to improve our communities. One thing we’ve been thinking a lot about lately is how these things we do in our community can break those generational cycles of poverty and how we can set our youth up for success later on; I believe both organizations focus on that goal.