Nice profile of South Asian Youth Action (SAYA):
The nonprofit organization has a presence in seven schools, which are all in Queens except for one in Brooklyn, and a gurdwara, a Sikh temple, but its main base is a community center in Elmhurst, a Queens neighborhood, where kids can come after school or on weekends to play basketball, get tutoring, do their homework, meet with counselors or simply hang out.
The majority of SAYA youth are of Guyanese, Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani descent, said Udai Tambar, SAYA’s executive director, and each of the organization’s sites reflects the ethnic subgroup that is largest in that neighborhood. SAYA offers ethnicity-specific counseling, and it bills itself as the nation’s only secular youth organization for South Asians.
“If you think of identity as a Venn diagram where the different circles represent the different parts of their identity, SAYA creates a safe space for youth to explore how these circles overlap,” Mr. Tambar said. “By being a secular space, we allow youth to explore what their religion and its overlap with other parts of their identity means for them.”
So far, about 7,700 youths have participated in SAYA’s programs. According to Mr. Tambar, 100 percent of those who have participated in its Chalo College have gone on to enroll in a university, including top schools like Barnard and New York University.