The Kennedy Center

Cultural Academy for Excellence (CAFE)


CAFE was founded by Chief Executive Officer, Lorna Green, who established this after school program to provide youth with a unique approach for learning, and strengthening their academic skills through the creative and performing arts. Since opening in 1996, CAFE has provided over 900 youths with culturally based enrichment activities, facilitated by credential and experienced directors, professional musicians, creative art instructors, teachers and tutors. CAFE has been in the Hyattsville/Mt Rainier community for the past 20 years. A 9-member Board of Directors composed of community leaders, governs the organization.

CAFE’ mission is “CAFE is a youth-based program which uses the performing arts as the catalyst to develop the passion and discipline for learning, leadership and academic achievement." CAFE has managed to incarnate its mission statement during nearly two decades of support for at-risk child development. 100% of students who attend CAFE through their secondary school years graduate from high school and 90% have gone on to study in college. Our goal is to improve the proficiency of students in reading and math, so that each CAFE student is performing at or above grade level. CAFE’ creative and performing arts program challenges students to develop the discipline, perseverance and commitment required to become good musicians. The discipline, perseverance and focus needed to succeed in music are skills that are transferable to achieving academic success. While we are actively tutoring these students, unquestionably, employing modern technology to enable them to work on their own (with supervision and guidance) to master or practice mathematical concepts, or expand vocabularies, enhances outcomes for each child, and, as noted above, can provide a sound technological foundation for future academics.

Watch Past Performances

Video 8/3/2017: Positive Vibrations Youth Steel Orchestra and Queen’s Royal College Steelpan Ensemble

The sounds of the steelpan come from the award-winning Positive Vibrations Youth Steel Orchestra, directed by Josanne Francis, as well as the Queen’s Royal College Steelpan Ensemble of Trinidad and Tobago, directed by Maureen Clement. Positive Vibrations Youth Steel Orchestra is part of the Cultural Academy for Excellence (CAFE), a non-profit art in education program based in Mount Rainier, Maryland.

 Cultural Academy for Excellence (CAFE)