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Learning to the groove

6/18/2008, 5 p.m.

Right in the thick of the inner city resides a program offering a unique blend of education that combines subjects ranging from the study of language arts to the history of hip-hop.
The Global Awareness Through Hip-Hop Culture Program is the source of that eclectic combination and has been in a league of its own since its beginnings two years ago.
Sebastien Elkouby, the founder and sole instructor of the course, is excited about the next step of his program--a recently formed partnership with the Inglewood Centinela Valley YMCA. Elkouby believes joining forces with the "Y" will put Global Awareness in a better position to reach out to youth in other areas of the urban community.
"This partnership with the Inglewood Centinela Valley YMCA is the beginning of something special. They understand the power of Hip-Hop and how it can be used to reach our youth in an effective way. We believe that the community at large will greatly benefit from this program, because we are taking what's popular to inner city youth and using it to reinforce what they need--a solid education," said Elkouby.
Although now being offered as a summer program, Global Awareness began as an afterschool program at the South Los Angeles-based Accelerated Charter High School. It is designed for teens ages 14-19, as it intends to wage war against the decay of academic performance that affects more than 50 percent of inner-city students.
This enrichment program consist of appearances from special guest speakers and artists, and instruction that helps participants develop a sense of global awareness by using Hip-Hop to analyze pop culture, while simultaneously teaching them language arts, social studies, and cultural diversity.
Participants are also given the opportunity to create and perform their own socially conscious songs.
"Hip-Hop is a life style, a culture, a freedom of self expression and much more. Hip-Hop is everywhere and anyone who says they love the art of Hip-Hop, should know its history and its origin," said Scottie Biggers, operations executive director of the Inglewood-Centinela Valley YMCA. "As the Inglewood-Centinela Valley YMCA continues to grow, we are very excited to develop a partnership with Sebastien and Global Awareness to introduce this type of educational enrichment program to our youth."
The Global Awareness Through Hip-Hop Culture Program begins June 30 and ends Aug. 28. Interested youth have until the first day of the program to register. The course cost $125 monthly fee, and it is open to the public.