Behailu Out of School Time Program

Behailu Academy is an arts-based youth development program that empowers youth to find and use their voices through the arts, academics, and community service.  We accomplish our mission by offering a variety of classes including performing arts, music, visual arts, culinary, technology, tutoring, and more.

We offer visual and performing arts, culinary and nutrition classes, martial arts, music, and mixed media art classes.  We offer year round programming.  During each session our students are afforded the opportunity to take a variety of classes.

Behailu Academy’s Out of School Time Program provides daily programming for 7th-12th grade students in Northeast Charlotte. Van transportation is provided for students at Garinger, Cochrane, and Eastway Middle Schools. Bus passes are available for teens at other schools.

  • Access to the arts: Visual, performing, and digital media classes
  • Access to enrichment: Tutoring, homework help, community service, arts experiences in the community
  • Access to resources: Transportation, snacks, school supplies, a safe space, computers
  • A culture of respect, love, acceptance, and positive support among peers and adults


What does a day at Behailu Academy look like?  

  • Behailu vans pick up students their schools and drive them home in the evening
  • Snack provided each afternoon and dinner served during evening program hours
  • 90 minutes of art classes: performing, visual, digital (4 days/week)
  • 90 minutes of homework help/tutoring as needed
  • Individual conversations about grades and behavior
  • Time to relax and be a teen in a safe, supportive environment


A Detailed Day at Behailu

Behailu is a safe haven for teens in Northeast Charlotte. Our space is located in a 5,000 square foot warehouse in the heart of NoDa. The mornings are quiet, but busy while staff prepares for students to arrive. The van drivers arrive at the schools before the final bell rings to pick up middle and high school students and bring them to the Academy. At 2:30, the majority of students arrive and gather around the table where we spend 30 minutes eating snack and sharing about our day as a family. Soul Food is an essential part of our time together because it allows us to share the successes, joys, challenges, and sorrows with people that support us.

At 3:00 we wrap up and go into our art classes. Three art classes taught by professional teaching artists are offered each day. Students select their individual classes for 12 week sessions during the school year. From 3:00-4:30 teens are singing, drawing, dancing, playing music, painting, making jewelry, or taking photos. While these teens are engaged in art classes, middle school students arrive and enjoy Soul Food and spend time working on their homework or with a tutor. At 4:30, we come together and students that arrive after 3pm go into their art classes, while those that have been creating for the last 90 minutes get their homework out and work independently or with a tutor. When homework is completed, there is time to hang out and relax. At 5:15, the two vans take home the first groups of students. The other students remain until 6:00 p.m. when the vans return to take them home for the evening.

Behailu doesn’t look like or operate like a school. The rules are not posted. There are no bells. There are no exams. However, there is learning and engagement. Learning about the arts, learning about themselves, learning about the world in space that is comfortable and safe. Students can move around the space freely doing homework on the couch, reading on the floor, or talking with a friend while playing the guitar. Adults are available to mentor and help teens. Behailu is a family like support system for teens, where mentors provide support and encouragement through structure, high expectations, and tough love.

Winter 2018 Class Offerings

  • Culinary
  • Guitar & THeory
  • Performance Band
  • Oil Painting
  • Drawing
  • Making A Movie
  • Digital Drawing
  • Improv
  • Sewing and Fashion
  • Spoken Word
  • Golden Nuggets
  • Copoeria


Fall 2017 class offerings

  • Culinary
  • Hip Hop Dance
  • Intermediate Culinary
  • Music & Band
  • Sketchbooks
  • Murals
  • Digital Design
  • Photography
  • Improv
  • Spoken Word
  • Student Leadership
  • Independent Drawing Workshop



We offer a varying mix of programming each session at Behailu Academy.  We check in with students to see what they might be interested in learning during upcoming sessions.  In the past we have offered.

  • Music
  • Improv
  • Theatre
  • Photography
  • Culinary Art
  • Jewelry
  • Paper Mache/Sculpture
  • Dioramas
  • Muay Thai
  • Music Therapy
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Mixed Media Art
  • Upcycled Art
  • Knitting
  • Mixed Fiber Art