One of my favorite parts of youth development and out-of-school time programs is when we provide spaces for students to CREATE. If anything, this past year and a half has unearthed the importance of providing healing spaces and room for self-expression.
As youth development professionals, we can’t turn away from the fact that our students (and us!) have individually and collectively faced grief, turmoil, anger, confusion, depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Take that in for a minute. It’s heavy. As a parallel to this heaviness, we can match it with the healing power of art. The arts offer a way to bring about connection, unity, celebration, and expression. It’s a way to connect our minds and bodies.
The unexpected – in both challenging and beautiful ways – will continue to happen. How will we facilitate spaces for healing through the arts, support our young people’s stories, and honor their narratives? I would love to offer some approaches:
- Register and attend Mizzen Mic Drop! This unique, no-cost Mizzen event being planned and presented in partnership with BOOST Collaborative will be held on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. This Lights On Afterschool event will provide a national platform for young people to share their stories and aspirations through the visual and performing arts. Designed to elevate youth voice, showcase the arts, and recognize the important role of OST programs in the future of education, Mic Drop! will feature live and pre-recorded performances and showcases inspiring music, art, dance, poetry, song, and related arts programming performed and shared by young people across America. Bonus: Host a watch party at your program site using this guide with tips on how to facilitate local interaction, discussion, and connect to the live event, the necessary technical requirements, and more. Click here to view the Mic Drop! Watch Party Guide.
- Engage youth in creative placemaking! Young people have inspiration, ideas, and unique problem-solving skills to contribute
to community planning and healing. One of the most holistic ways of designing sustainable spaces and places is through creative placemaking. Visit part one and part two of a previous blog I authored here on the Breakfast Club to learn what creative placemaking is, the importance of it in our communities, and how we can use creative placemaking in our youth programs.
- Art teaches problem-solving and decision-making skills. Creativity also promotes identity development and helps students find their place in the world. Be inspired with ideas for your local program by visiting these organizations and their learning from their incredible work: National Storytelling Network, UNICEF Digital Storytelling, Colorado Alliance for Creative Youth Development, San Diego Creative Youth Development Network, Americans for the Arts, Creative Youth Development National Partnership, Bay Area Youth Storytelling Project – Kala Art Institute.
For breakfast today, I had a very large iced coffee and eggs.