Saint Louis Story Stitchers is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a $10,000 grant from LUSH Corporation’s The Charity Pot.
LUSH Corporation’s philosophy— “Charitable giving is at the heart of our business. We believe it’s our responsibility to advocate for the environment, animals and people in need, as well as giving back to organizations locally and around the world. We do this through our Charity Pot program, our ethical campaigns and our people.”
The Charity Pot is a rich body and hand cream created by LUSH that contains up to seven ingredients sourced from LUSH’s Sustainable Lush Fund projects that support regenerative agriculture around the world. With every purchase of a Charity Pot, LUSH donates 100% of the price (minus the taxes) to small grassroots organizations like Saint Louis Story Stitchers.
The Charity Pot grant will support marketing for Story Stitchers’ youth-led podcast program, StitchCast Studio as well as support youth internships and youth training in marketing. We are grateful for their support in amplifying our young Black voices!
Through our marketing efforts, we strive to be able to make an impact in these ways:
- Provide a regular platform for youth to have their voices amplified and heard
- Develop hard skills amongst youth such as media training and media production
- Develop soft skills amongst youth such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, empathy, self-esteem, and interpersonal communication skills (conversational & public speaking)
- Build youth awareness of current event, leadership, opportunities
- Build cultural awareness and sensitivity around African American youth
- Build awareness of the needs of African American youth
- Promote peaceful solutions and meaningful discussion that result in crime reduction amongst youth
- Help youth foster their emotions by reducing anxiety & fear and building hope
- Recognize and promote the importance of youth and their voices and their ability to create change
Want to help? Check out StitchCast Studio! Listen follow, and share!
Story Stitchers focuses on the root causes of youth gun violence including the trauma of poverty and the lack of adult guidance and mentorship by providing ongoing vocational training, safe spaces to gather, relevant cultural experiences, meaningful methods of self-expression, and character education through weekly meetings (now virtual), in-school assembly programs, community building, amplification of black voice through publications including music, video and podcasts, and live and virtual performances.
The work of the Collective is authentic, powerful and raw. It captures and documents important pieces of black history through written word and art including poetry, photography and video recordings while training the next generation to become active, engaged citizens. Programs become a force multiplier, rippling into families, schools and neighborhoods and offering solutions for common urban problems. Each year, youth gain vocational skills and self-confidence. In 2019, diverse audiences of 8,600 experienced Black teenagers in a new way — as strong, capable community leaders unafraid to display good character and skills to a wide range of diverse audiences on public stages, changing perceptions and realities.
This is the 2nd grant Story Stitchers has received from The Charity Pot.
“Community Conversations” was awarded $15,950 in November, 2018. The program took a pop up stage through impoverished black neighborhoods and aided Story Stitchers’ creative youth development efforts through a series of open mic’s, public performances, training sessions, and youth planning and engagement activities.
Encouraged by this grant, Story Stitchers as an organization tightened up the process of community engagement through meetings out in the communities as opposed to at our own storefront studio.
Funding from LUSH helped to benefit the communities we serve by providing performance spaces on empty lots, in parks, schools and on stages, food to encourage engagement, meetings and conversations, youth stipends to encourage and make possible training and community service for low income young people, transportation to enable youth mobility throughout the city, the development of stronger youth leaders through cultural enrichment and meaningful, relevant and culturally sensitive training, and marketing support to help spread the word about events and activities.
Story Stitchers Youth Council and the South Side Youth Council, based at Thomas Dunn Learning Center, developed two Youth Open Mic’s which helped young people to speak out on issues important to them including gun violence, death, relationships, bullying, identity, safety, stress and trauma, and more. The two events drew 125 people combined and many youth expressed gratitude for the opportunity to speak out. The programs helped to draw attention to the Southside Youth Council. Story Stitchers created a logo for the Southside Youth Council as well.
Community leaders from St. Louis Sheriff’s Office, City Department of Health, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. Federal Prosecutors Office, St Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office, St. Louis City Fire Department, St. Louis Public Schools, and the St. Louis City Board of Alderman all engaged in Story Stitchers community events at various points this year. Exposure to Story Stitchers youth, artists and messaging has a big impact on all who come in contact with our work, including city officials. In the words of Stitchers Youth Council’s song entitled Who’s Ready?, “We will NOT be silent.” Programs become a force multiplier, rippling into families, schools and neighborhoods and offering solutions to common urban problems.
The most significant change we saw as a result of this funding was in our youth. There was more confidence, more determination, a clearer focus and purpose. They were changed, moved, and unyielding. They grew to have more awareness of the power of their own young voices and continue to want to use that power to help resolve the agony caused by systemic racial injustices. They are more likely to self-organize and are more skilled and successful at these attempts. They continue to grow, learn, mature, and transition from “me” to “we” as a result of the opportunities made possible through the Lush Charity Pot grants.