By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer,
Report for America Corps Member,
When Carlena Evans was a young girl, she would often ask God what she was supposed to do with her life, and in time, he gave her an answer.
Evans’ dive into entrepreneurship emerged from what she called a “two-finger tap from God.” At 4 a.m. one morning, she envisioned a world where children were displaying their talents.
They were dancing, singing, rapping and even performing acrobatics.
“While I’m watching this amazing vision, he said: ‘They don’t know who they are. I need you to show them. There’s people walking around, and they have no idea of the gifts I gave them,’” said Evans. “It was one of those things where it’s like there’s adults who still don’t even know the talents that were already given to them for free.”
Evans thought that although everyone is born with natural talents and abilities, they may never realize them if someone doesn’t come along to encourage their exploration.
After the vision, Evans was sleepless trying to figure out what she could create to help youth discover and nurture their gifts.
In 2010, Evans founded Kidsplosion Nation, a nonprofit organization that helps children discover, develop and display their talents.
“Outside of school, kids don’t really have a place to fully express themselves, and even at school, their school has another agenda, which is an important one,” said Evans. “This now gives them that outlet where they have all of the different opportunities to really display and showcase what it is that’s inside them.”
The organization offers four programs: a nine-week summer camp, an after-school program, weekend care and holiday care, and it recruits community volunteers to come in to exhibit their personal passions, whether chess, ventriloquy, magic or veterinary sciences, for children to learn what they’re interested in.
Youth can then choose what they want to pursue and develop. At the end of each program, the children showcase what they’ve learned with raps, songs, dances, art shows and more to their parents and loved ones.
While Kidsplosion Nation started in Georgia, it has since broadened its presence overseas. The organization uses money from its for-profit arm, Kidsplosion Entertainment, to fund programs and events for children living in poverty.
In 2016, Kidsplosion Nation came to Ghana, and most recently, it expanded to Uganda and Dubai.
According to Evans, most youth in Middle Eastern and African countries do not have access to quality public education. Many do not make it to middle school or high school.
With the help of donors and funding, Kidsplosion Nation is striving to mitigate this ongoing plight.
“It’s very very important that they’re able to get educated and then obviously, utilize their own talents because especially in areas like that, all they have is their talents,” said Evans. “They might not have education, so we have to make sure that we capitalize on those skills so that they can make a living for themselves.”
Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member – subscribers are now members! Join here!