In order to empower these students toward social, emotional, behavioral, and academic success, specialized support services need to be provided that consider the whole student and the whole family, and that honor their past and their future.
Kofi Services are culturally-specific, school and home based programs for African American youth that are designed to lift up students strengths and abilities and improve positive functioning. By connecting elementary school students and their families with cultural affirmation, rites of passage, mentorship, skill building and role modeling in partnership with parents and educators, Kofi seeks to ensure that all students receive the educational, social, and emotional supports that they need reach their full potential.
To achieve this, Kofi provides:
- Mental health student support experiences (i.e., anger management, conflict resolution, problem solving, decision making, communication, and therapeutic leisure/recreation)
- Meaningful engagement, support and role modeling for Kofi students (i.e., daily classroom and attendance check in, cultural/life skills education, administrative meetings with school about academics, behavior, crisis intervention)
- Parenting skills support and outreach, information, referrals, and crisis assistance
- Facilitation of positive parental involvement in school activities and learning opportunities
Kofi has a strong focus on providing trauma-informed care and reflecting cultural affirmation. Kofi staff are trained mental health service providers who are almost exclusively African American, many of whom grew up in the Saint Paul metro area. We aim to celebrate each child’s identity and uniqueness, and we aim to co-create a better future in partnership with our students, their parents, their families, our educators and schools, and the broader community.
In order to continually improve our services according to the evolving needs of our stakeholders, Kofi employs the use of multiple feedback mechanisms and change processes. These include regular student, parent, and educator satisfaction surveys as well as tracking of metrics on Kofi students' academic and behavioral performance. We aim to be responsive to this feedback and are continually taking on new approaches as indicated by our educational partners and our families, our staff's lived experience, and the context of our community.