By Vicki Phillips | Special to the OBSERVER

Brandon Brown, School Yard Rap. Photo courtesy of Vicki Phillips.

More than 50 students from high schools throughout YOLO County recently attended an African American Student Leadership Conference at Woodland Community College.

The event, hosted by the YOLO County Office of Education and the California Association of African American Superintendents and Administrators (CAAASA), provided youth with entertaining and educational messages about history, facts about COVID-19 and encouraged them to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

One of the event’s speakers, Brandon Brown, CEO of a national program called School Yard Rap, engaged students through rap, before sharing health-related messages about COVID-19.

This session was among several throughout the state hosted by CAAASA in partnership with local school districts, as part of its outreach campaign, for the past year, to encourage youth to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“This was a fantastic opportunity in which to engage youth about history and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time,” said Michael Dennis, CAAASA’s Project Manager.  “We look forward to sharing the facts about COVID-19 with other groups of students.”

Youth completing the survey after the program indicated that they learned a lot about COVID-19 and found the program to be beneficial.

Founded in 1993, CAAASA, an education equity and advocacy organization, works through collaboration, network-building and direct community engagement to promote the success of African American, Latinx and other underserved California K-12 public school students and families.  CAAASA’s members include school superintendents, administrators, teachers and other educational professionals from throughout California; many of whom live and/or work in the AV area.   Although its primary focus is education, CAAASA has been at the forefront of numerous issues impacting the health of the African American community