RAWK Spotlight: New Connections of Kalamazoo

For the month of July, we are shining the RAWK Spotlight on

New Connections of Kalamazoo

The RAWK Spotlight is a monthly series that celebrates folx who embody and serve the mission of empowering youth voices. Folx in the RAWK Spotlight can be anyone from staff, to volunteers, to Board Members, to community partners. They are chosen by the RAWK staff team by merit of their passion, dedication, and enthusiasm for serving local youth and their community!

Keep reading to hear from New Connections of Kalamazoo, as well as RAWK Youth Advisory Council members and staff team, about their incredible impact in the community and here at RAWK!

  New Connections of  Kalamazoo:

A strong workforce inspires a community’s ability to produce and reproduce knowledge, and skill development. NCK is excited to empower 8th-12th grade students through construction trades and vocational training. Skills training is fire, and it ignites the engines of:



Industry, and



Hear what our Board and staff team members have to say about NCK: 

“New Connection is the future of education! Meeting youth right at the narrative of what it means to be successful and making space for youth to articulate their goals instead of a system doing it for them. It has been exciting to see youth leading projects and bringing ideas from other youth (RAWK YAC) to life. This is what youth development is ALL about! The work that NCK has done in our storefront has been transformational and we are so excited to share their work with the community in the near future.”

–Dr. Kandace Lavender (Executive Director of RAWK)


“New connection of Kalamazoo helped RAWK put our visions and thoughts to action in the RAWK writing center and store front! It’s so awesome to see how BIG we can dream if we work together!”

–Jahleel (YAC member)


“As a member of YAC, the work New Connections did for us really helped us bring our ideas together for the RAWK storefront!”

–Masha (YAC member)


“New connections really brought our RAWK storefront ideas to life. I think it’s so cool that youth ideas were brought to life by youth for youth!”

–Alaina (YAC member)


“New Connections of Kalamazoo is a great place for youth to develop trade/skills. At the end of the program the youth showcase what they’ve accomplished and it’s amazing! “

– Amy Hall (Program Coordinator at Northeastern Elementary)