Babanina JamesVolvo for life Awards: Babanina James
has spent over 25 years helping inner city youth avoid the pitfalls of teen pregnancy, violence, domestic violence, substance abuse, suicide, and HIV/AIDS transmission.She
has devoted herself to serving young people from high-risk neighborhoods throughout Boston, providing direct service on health issues, as well as through training peer health educators. Babanina began by volunteering with a non-profit youth organization called PEATOC (Peer Educators-A Touch of Class) which later became WEATOC, (We're Educators-A Touch Of Class), as a Peer Educator in 1979.
24 year tenure (1979-2003) at WEATOC
rose through the ranks.She
last served as the organization's Vice President, working alongside her
mother, the organization's co-founder, to continuously build the organization's capacity.
leadership the program was replicated in schools, churches, housing developments, health centers, and community centers.It reached and trained over 1,500 youth as peer educators and reached an average 23,000 youth and adults per year through theatrical shows and performances. In addition to her work with WEATOC, Ms. James has served on numerous community boards to support the development of youth and families.Babanina also serves as an Alumni Recruiter for Howard University, evidencing her unyielding commitment to creating educational opportunities for at risk youth. She
is committed to developing a future in which youth have viable options.On her 40th birthday, she founded the Institute for Global Youth Development Programs, (IGYDP).IGYDP's
mission is three-fold: 1) To continue to train a generation of young leaders and support adult youth workers, 2) To provide capacity building support to youth development organizations, and 3) To conduct advocacy works that helps to create a culture that supports young people.Babanina
is using her
personal funds to begin this initiative.
Babanina's work transcends time and work hours.She
typically volunteers an additional 15-20 hours a week on additional public service projects.In addition, when WEATOC
experienced severe funding cutbacks, she
chose to remain and receive inconsistent, reduced and, in some instances, no pay.Babanina
has spent the last two years of her
personal time developing the Institute for Global Youth Development Programs
to help youth and families.
More important than Babanina's many accomplishments, though, is that she
has a beautiful spirit.She
offers unconditional love to children and their families.She
is humble, and continues to demonstrate a willingness to fight for what she
believes in, especially when it is on behalf of young people.
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