Breaking the Cycle participates in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations in 2020. Photos courtesy of Breaking the Cycle.
“It is our job to give the youth a glimmer of hope.”
By Allyson Edge
Each month we highlight a community program that aligns with the values of SoulVision Magazine. We believe engaging with one’s community is critical to fostering positive change in the world.
Breaking the Cycle was founded in 2016 by Clark Atlanta University alumna Markeena Novembre with a goal to lead, inspire, uplift, and transform the local community. She established different chapters at other HBCUs because often the communities around HBCU campuses are disenfranchised. Breaking the Cycle is a way for students to help their communities continue to grow and create positive change. Currently, there are chapters at FAMU, Howard University, Hampton University, Clark Atlanta University, Delaware State University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College. The organization frequently hosts panels with all of the chapters so that the schools have the opportunity to collaborate together.
In the past three years, Hampton University’s chapter worked towards forming relationships with other organizations in the local Hampton Roads and Norfolk community. “In my time being in the program, we worked towards establishing not one but two mentoring programs in the Hampton Roads area,” says Nina Pinto, vice president of the Hampton University Chapter. “We’ve volunteered at different food banks, tutored students at local churches, and held educational sessions on Hampton’s campus. We also established ties with a local juvenile detention center to mentor their youth.”
Breaking the Cycle celebrates Kwanzaa in 2019. E-board members lead their peers in creating a chain of cards to celebrate the black community.
Their work largely focuses on the youth, especially on their experiences working with the juvenile detention center. “If we inspire them and give them a plan, they know they can go back to high school, get their diploma, and go on to college with the proper resources,” says Pinto. “It really gives them a glimmer of hope, like ‘Okay, it’s not over for me after this. I can really go out and go do something with my life.’”
Within the Hampton Roads community, Breaking the Cycle identified issues of food insecurity and a lack of affordable nutritional food options. As a result, they set out to promote healthy eating practices and establish community pantries stocked with healthy foods. Although volunteering has looked a little bit different given the current climate of COVID-19, the organization still hosts food drives and fundraising events to donate to nonprofits in the area. Breaking the Cycle looks forward to working directly with members of the community post-pandemic.
To learn more about how you can support the Breaking the Cycle Hampton Roads Chapter, you can follow them on Instagram.