Today we’d like to introduce you to Yasmine Lockett.
Yasmine, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
People say I should write a book because my story is surreal to most. How does a career dancer turn into a youth development guru? In July of 2008, after spending four years obtaining my BFA in dance performance at Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia, I auditioned for the world-renowned Dallas Black Dance Theatre II.
By August of that same year, I was living in Dallas performing nationwide and teaching all across the Dallas community. It was during my time there that I realized my true passion which was working for kids so when the opportunity to oversee community-based youth programs arose, I accepted. In my last year with DBDT II, I became the Youth Ensemble Director and the Outreach Coordinator.
Being in those roles introduced me to the Dallas community at large including Big Thought, one of the leading organizations in youth development. I transitioned to Big Thought as a Program Manager and coordinated 21st century funded, comprehensive, supplemental, arts enrichment based, academic programs for school-aged youth in schools across Dallas for five years. I learned a lot!
The non-profit world has its challenges but most definitely shapes your character in ways unimaginable and I eventually found myself as a Quality Advisor for Dallas Afterschool, an intermediate agency that provides quality support for out-of-school time providers. In that role, I advised close to 15 organizations in program quality improvement.
This type of support is important and necessary for all organizations across the world in my opinion. I was able to help organizations such as Frazier Revitalization obtain resources necessary to enhance their current offerings and serve more families! Now, I can continue that movement as their new Director of Education and Engagement! I recently accepted this position, and I am truly excited about the work at hand.
The South Dallas community has always been on my radar, but I have not had the chance to provide a placed based focus. I look forward to continuing to initiate, implement and coordinate out-of-school time-based programming to serve our kids! That, in a nutshell, is how I got here!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Of course, there are always struggles, and it has not always been a smooth road.
Fortunately, I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon. My parents worked hard to provide what they could and showed me how to be resourceful in turn. We didn’t have a money tree so, knowing what it feels like to earn something has always been rewarding for me.
I did not have a plan of progression upon moving to Dallas from Atlanta as I was solely focused on becoming a professional contemporary dancer. So many were shocked about me taking such a risk fresh out of college because I did not have the financial means. Ten years ago, you could not tell me I would be an educator. Let’s also not forget, I did not have the typical family support because my family does not live in Dallas.
Being on my own while facing “life” forced me to grow up quickly as well as learn from my mistakes quickly. The decision to transition from a professional dancer to a non-profit professional did not make sense to me in the beginning. I did not have the experience or knowledge that I thought I needed.
When I learned that this work is based on an internal passion, I thrived! You have to enjoy this space for it to make sense which prepares you for ALL the obstacles that come with serving a community.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Frazier Revitalization – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am a creative thinking individual who thrives on the “big idea.” I’d rather ask for forgiveness instead of permission. I believe in possibilities, and everyone deserves to be happy! Why not??? We are not placed on this earth to feel anything less. This is probably the main reason I enjoy working for kids because they are often less burdened with the issues of our society.
The primary focus of Frazier Revitalization is to address the trauma and stress that families in our target area every day; to work strategically with the institutions serving this population by doing what we can to amplify their impact on the people they serve (i.e., quarterback). All initiatives are designed to enhance community engagement and improve resident participation in the various processes.
Our Out-of-School-Time Network provides training, resources, and networking for out-of-school-time providers based on network needs. Frazier Kids Programs help improve social and emotional development through academic assistance, arts enrichment, and sports. The Bertrand Neighborhood Comprehensive Plan serves as the liaison with the neighborhood association surveying residences and businesses to determine the characteristics of their needs.
Finally, our Commercial Development Initiative which actively engages in identifying potential service providers for the neighborhood. Are we trying to take over Dallas, no! We commend ourselves on being placed based which provides a laser focus to one community which in turn gives true outcomes.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am looking forward to being an influential part in increasing awareness to the south Dallas communities. I am looking forward to helping this community overcome obstacles from years past.
I am looking forward to real change versus continuing to place band-aids over old wounds! This work deserves to be able to show the success of increasing student success. There are way too many organizations and individual people in our society that praise themselves on who they are or what they’ve done, but my goal is for the people who are being served to gain from those efforts long term.
Theoretically, I add another page to my unwritten book everyday so, there is no overarching, set goal for me outside of continuing my efforts at improving outcomes for children! However, that idea of my very own dance studio that has morphed into a center for multicultural activities is definitely on the horizon! Stay tuned!
- Website: https://www.frazierdallas.org
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: @FrazierRevitalization
- Twitter: @FrazierRevital
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