Pick the Juvenile Detention Center UP!

Story Stitchers Youth with Lt. Perri Johnson, Commander of the Juvenile Division of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Dept. at the City Juvenile Detention Center, Grand Center

On June 24th, 2017 Story Stitchers performed at the City of St. Louis Juvenile Detention Center. Songs performed by Story Stitchers youth such as Not Another One! about putting guns down and Do U! which speaks to self respect and expression helped to carry messages of choice and hope. The show ended with ice cream and  a youth-led discussion with the teens and Lt. Johnson from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department who offered hope and concrete help to youth as they prepare to re-enter the world outside the Detention Center.

Story Stitchers youth reflected afterwards —

“When going into the Juvenile Detention Center I really did not know what to think. I’ve never experienced being in such an environment. The room that we were in was empty at first so it was not very touching. But once the young men started coming into the room and one artist performed our songs about non-violence, I actually felt emotional because of the situation the young men are in. Some may think that it’s their fault to why they are in there, but from my opinion sometimes it’s not the teen’s fault. Also, I was thinking of my little brother, which is why it was important for me to tell them to get in touch with Lieutenant Johnson and Mr. KP so that they can help them and be a great resource for them.”  Kelsey, age 19, Story Stitchers / STL Youth Jobs Intern

“My personal experience with the Juvenile Detention Center was warming. I feel like the initial reaction that the kids had was more nonchalant but once they got to see us performing, like our first few performances, they started to feel welcome because they could connect with us. They started to see that we all come from the same thing, you know we all got connections so they started to like, get more comfortable with us and I visually started seeing from slouching in chairs to head nods then by the end of the show everybody was into it, they was waving hands and I really feel like it was empowering and influential because that could change somebody’s life and I personally feel like it did change their life, somebody in that room, it changed their life.

I would love to do it again, I have no problem with it. I feel like they would love to see that again also because I’m sure they don’t see stuff like that on a day to day basis. They are in the juvenile detention center they just kinda locked down like punishment you know what I’m saying, so to see that and to hear that type of music and see that type of dances and performances that’s with their era, I feel like they enjoyed that so I would love to do that again and see what comes.” Antonio, age 16, Story Stitchers / STL Youth Jobs Intern

“My experience in the Juvenile Detention Center turned out to be a great success because Story Stitchers left behind a great message after their performances. Story Stitchers interpreted Not Another One! through rap, singing, and dancing. I was a dancer.” Mariyon, age 16, Story Stitchers / STL Youth Jobs Intern

Funded in part by the Civic Engagement Fund grant from the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at Washington University in St. Louis, and the Arts and Education Council Monsanto Creative Impact Grant.

To find out upcoming Story Stitchers shows visit: LIVE SHO’S