2012 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
Executive Director Mohamed Farah accepts the award on behalf of Ka Joog.
The Minneapolis Division is pleased to honor Ka Joog, a Somali American youth organization, as a recipient of the 2012 Director’s Community Leadership Award.
The Ka Joog organization is a group of nine Somali Americans who provide hope, direction, and vision for more than 2,500 young people in one of the largest Somali communities in America. The translation of Ka Joog is stay away—the message serves to remind children to stay away from drugs, violence, radicalization, and other negative influences while learning to assimilate to American culture and customs. Since 2007, the group has worked to develop a program that involves art as a means to engage youth and help them recognize that education is the way to fight the stigma of being different.
Ka Joog hosts regular seminars with members of the community and law enforcement to discuss topics ranging from gangs to terrorism. In 2012, Ka Joog took 40 local youths into the woods for a learning weekend. Most of the participants had never been outside the city, to a lake, or camped outdoors. The children learned to swim, work on projects together, share ideas, and build relationships.
To further the organization’s efforts, Ka Joog was awarded a $68,000 grant in 2012 from the Minnesota State Arts Board to encourage Somali artists to create, teach, and present all forms of Somali art.