The Ikarus Youth Outreach Program Is Paving a Path for The Future

 

The Ikarus Youth Outreach Program is a leadership program focussed on education, community service, culture, and health. Their mission statement is simple: “ Train our leaders of tomorrow for their role in society.” The program’s goals are to “ Prepare young men (particularly those of color) for leadership roles in society, obtain 100% high school graduation rates and 100% collegiate/trade school acceptance rates, and to encourage achievement through academics and seek to become role models in school and community.”

Ikarus is an acronym for Intellectual Kind Adolescent Representing Us. The program lives up to its mission statement and goals daily, continuously connecting with the community in numerous ways. Michal Harris, the founder states that what he loves most about Ikarus is “ being able to see the youth succeed in the community, and assisting communities and families.” Seeing the impact the program is having brings Harris great joy.

Ikarus frequently hosts events and projects focussed on education, and service to the community. Recent events include an Arkansas Food Bank cereal drive, a basketball camp, and an event called the “Power of Prayer Breakfast”. The purpose of the “Power of Prayer Breakfast” was to have a discussion with local clergy regarding ways to utilize resources to provide assistance to youth in underprivileged areas. “ The goal this newly formed union will accomplish is to assist with issues such as teen pregnancy, reentry initiatives, reducing crime, and support for the elderly.  It meant so much to have Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson in attendance speaking his support for myself and the Ikarus Youth Outreach Program.”

One of Harris’ favorite events was the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, 2018 Youth Summit, Ikarus received an award in recognition of their community service. Harris says “ As a child growing up, one of the great civil rights leaders that I idolized was the late great Martin Luther King Jr.  I admired his compassion, determination, and humility in his efforts to fight for civil rights. For the Ikarus Youth Outreach Program to be selected as an honoree for community service was a high honor.”

Ikarus partners with many local businesses and organizations to help provide career education and jobs to youth in the program. Harris believes in playing an active role providing positive and engaging ways for youth to further themselves and get involved in the community.

The Program has partnered with Women and Children First, the Dorcas House, Central Arkansas Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, the Nehemiah House, the Arkansas Food Bank and many more.

Ikarus values education greatly, and this fall it will be giving out two scholarships to the University of Pine Bluff for incoming freshman.

Ikarus will be sponsoring a “Back to School Bash” in Pine Bluff on Friday August 3rd from 4pm to 6pm put on by the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff Recruitment Office. At the bash, free school supplies to youth in grades K-12 will be provided along with ACT information to high schoolers and their families. The event will also have a “Mobile Video Game Station” along with bounce houses for hours of enjoyment. Michal Harris states “ This event is much deserved for the community of Pine Bluff and illustrates the commitment of the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and Ikarus Youth Outreach Program.”

So what does the future hold for Ikarus? I asked Harris about what his aspirations were for Ikarus and he explained:

“ The ultimate goal is for Ikarus Youth Outreach Programs continued expansion around the state of Arkansas to provide mentoring for youth and number of resources to communities.  We want to change the stigma that has been attached to the word “mentoring” currently in today’s climate. It is ok for a child to join a “mentoring” program and not be labeled as a trouble maker.  In my opinion, mentoring programs are meant for youth of all ages to provide a longer time for enrichment and allow for development career and educational aspirations. We have youth that lack development in certain areas that need assistance from Ikarus Youth Outreach Program but are not allowed to join because of the stigma attached to the name of “mentoring.”

By providing innovative seminars, workshops, and events, Ikarus Youth Outreach Program hopes to break through barriers and stigmas to help youth understand the resources available to them through an education. Through the participating in the program, youth will understand why giving back to their community is one of the best ways to help improve it. Harris believes “ Once a child has graduated college, the knowledge and resources gained should be returned in some type of way to the community, which will inspire peers and youth in the community to follow the same path.”

The Ikarus Youth Outreach program is making waves in the community of central Arkansas. Michal Harris has a passion for what he does, and an unwavering determination to give back to the community and help guide today’s youth to becoming tomorrow’s leaders.

To join this amazing program, or enroll your child, you can contact Ikarus via website: www.ikarusyouth.com, email: harrismike1911@hotmail.com, or phone: (870)413-8571. The future looks brighter every day with the Ikarus Youth Outreach Program working hard. This program is an agent for change, positively impacting our communities and providing underprivileged youth with resources and opportunities to start changing the world.

 

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