Stitchers Youth Council Spotlight: Jihad


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IMG_8014The Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective, a 501(c)(3) organization, is professional artists and inner-city youth grades ages 16-24, working together to create social change with a focus on gun violence prevention.

Stitchers collect local stories, reframe and retell them through art, writing and performance to promote understanding, civic pride, intergenerational relationships and literacy.

Story Stitchers are artists-in-residence at Kranzberg Arts Foundation in the vibrant Grand Center Arts District and run a Storefront Studio for publishing at 616 N Skinker Blvd. in the historic Loop District.

Meet Jihad, a member of the Stitchers Youth Council…

Jihad is a 20 year old college student attending St. Louis Community College at Forest Park and studying Petroleum and Mechanical Engineering. He’s doing well in school. He is the eldest of 5 siblings in his family, one being a twin sister. He was born in New Orleans and when he was 5 years old his family moved to Saudi Arabia as his father followed a career opportunity. When he was 17, after graduating high school, he relocated to St. Louis to be with family.

Jihad came to Story Stitchers through a pod cast activity in which Story Stitchers partnered with the students at the Community College to create a recorded discussion on gun violence prevention.

“I was nervous at the beginning because I was never used to people being able to speak on their personal experiences, because back home in Saudi Arabia, if you speak out it can be used against you and you’ll get picked up by police the next morning,” Jihad said. “It’s really different here because talking openly is seen as part of making solutions to problems rather than it being your own statement.

It’s hard to tell someone to put down their gun when every time they walk out the door they feel like a target. But I realize that carrying can put the person at a higher risk; even more risk than other people. You could go down on gun charges if you don’t use it or if you do use it it’s the same thing— you might not come back home…ever. When you carry, you would have to pick between two boxes— a coffin or a cell. I’ve learned a lot in my short life and now I want to help other people.”

Thinking abut the future Jihad said, “So after the podcast experience I came by the storefront the next day and joined Story Stitchers. Story Stitchers kept me away from sticky situations and it showed me to think before I act. I’m making friends here with other young people my age and I’m starting to perfect my art which is something I wasn’t able to focus on because I was sidetracked…. I hope to reach out to other kids in order to help them learn through my mistakes, and If we don’t change our habits, our mindsets, and our activities collectively, we might not be able to get a second chance…”

IMG_8015The goal for all Story Stitchers projects is to promote a better educated, more peaceful and caring region through storytelling. A core creative group of professional artists and African American youth generate original work through a unique form of “urban storytelling” that includes hip hop, spoken word, photography and videography and disseminate new works through public presentations and performances. The Collective’s body of work focuses on gun violence prevention and topics related to public health issues.

Story Stitchers’ programs are driven by the interests and concerns of low-income, black youth and as a result have focused on gun violence since 2014. Gun violence is a pressing public health crisis that consumes the attention of the engaged youth. Youth have the opportunity to work through their pain and loss and be a force multiplier, impacting families, schools and neighborhoods.

Stitchers is committed to placing youth at the center of the work both in identifying topics for exploration as well as the methods for engagement. This approach builds a community of youth and professional artists who respect one another. We are proud that our primary method for recruiting new youth is word of mouth from their peers.

The Collective meets with youth year-round and has presented publicly over 150 times, engaging a diverse audiences of over 18,000.

Together, we can do so much more for our at risk youth in Saint Louis. Please make a gift today to support Saint Louis Story Stitchers in the New Year—and beyond.

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

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Stitchers Youth Council Spotlight: Cali


The Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective, a 501(c)(3) organization, is professional artists and inner-city youth grades ages 16-24, working together to create social change with a focus on gun violence prevention.

Stitchers collect local stories, reframe and retell them through art, writing and performance to promote understanding, civic pride, intergenerational relationships and literacy.

Story Stitchers are artists-in-residence at Kranzberg Arts Foundation in the vibrant Grand Center Arts District and run a Storefront Studio for publishing at 616 N Skinker Blvd. in the historic Loop District.

Meet Cali, a member of the Stitchers Youth Council…

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Cali came to Story Stitchers in January 2018 as a high school senior. He is now 20 years old. Cali is a dancer and performed in five of the Story Stitchers Not Another One! high school performances about gun violence prevention in 2018/19. Cali completed high school with a GED. He likes to learn new things and at Story Stitchers he has been doing some amazing nature photography, learning to do graphic design and videography. He is in the premiere group of youth performers in the Stitchers Youth Council as a dancer. This group will be going to Seattle, Washington in November to perform to Unity Summit, sponsored by Missouri Foundation for Health and Change Philanthropy.

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“I’ve been to Seattle before by myself but this time I’m going to be with family, my Story Stitchers family, so it’s going to be way more fun. And I’m excited about the performances we’re going to do and visiting the Pop Culture Museum. Three of my friends are going to be at my house the night before we go and then a taxi is going to pick us up and take us to the airport at 3:30 AM! So I’m going to be tired but excited.”

Cali has participated in a Story Stitchers radio interview at KDHX, many Story Stitchers performances, and joined his peers to write a youth grant to St. Louis Mental Health Board for a new school assembly program called, Good For Your Health. He is known for his fashion-forward style, his warm smile and welcoming demeanor. He is always ready to learn or to help another.

“I’m learning how to become a better role model because I get put in a lot of situations here where I have to have a leadership mentality. When I perform with the dancers we all know what to do but sometimes I help the group to sum up the whole performance before the show, like when we rehearse. When we perform for little kids at elementary schools the little kids go crazy because they like our dancing and they try to copy us. So we are careful about what we are modeling to them.”

“Right now I’m a STL Youth Jobs intern at Story Stitchers. My job coach is very hands on and she checks up on me a lot. At Story Stitchers I am working on creating beats for the dancers and curating and editing photographs for our upcoming show, To The Prairie, at The High Low in Grand Center next March. I also do graphic design and I just finished the cover art for our new song, ANTI, which is about bullying. It’s on iTunes and all the major music platforms.”

You can find links to the song on our website: storystitchers.org.

The goal for all Story Stitchers projects is to promote a better educated, more peaceful and caring region through storytelling. A core creative group of professional artists and African American youth generate original work through a unique form of “urban storytelling” that includes hip hop, spoken word, photography and videography and disseminate new works through public presentations and performances. The Collective’s body of work focuses on gun violence prevention and topics related to public health issues.

Story Stitchers’ programs are driven by the interests and concerns of low-income, black youth and as a result have focused on gun violence since 2014. Gun violence is a pressing public health crisis that consumes the attention of the engaged youth. Youth have the opportunity to work through their pain and loss and be a force multiplier, impacting families, schools and neighborhoods.

Stitchers is committed to placing youth at the center of the work both in identifying topics for exploration as well as the methods for engagement. This approach builds a community of youth and professional artists who respect one another. We are proud that our primary method for recruiting new youth is word of mouth from their peers.

Since 2013 Saint Louis Story Stitchers have gained support from or collaborated with: Washington University in St. Louis, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, Missouri Foundation for Health, Regional Arts Commission, Missouri Arts Council, Mid-America Arts Alliance, National Endowment for the Arts, Missouri Humanities Council, National Endowment for the Humanities, Youthbridge Community Foundation, Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund, Saigh Foundation, Cardinals Care, University of Missouri’s Extension Service’s St. Louis Storytelling Festival, KWMU’s We Live Here, Saint Louis Art Museum, Fringe Fest, St. Louis Mental Health Board, and more. The Collective meets with youth year-round and has presented publicly over 150 times, engaging a diverse audiences of over 15,000.

Together, we can do so much more for our at risk youth in Saint Louis. Please make a gift today to support Saint Louis Story Stitchers in the New Year—and beyond.

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

 

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Seeking Board Nominations


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2019 Bowl A Thon

November 15th is National Philanthropy Day

“Celebrate by taking some action, big or small, to make the world a better place for someone else. You don’t have to be a billionaire to be a philanthropist.

Philanthropy  literally means  “love of mankind”. So to be a philanthropist, you only need show a bit of love and concern for the well-being of your fellow humans.” — Youthbridge Community Foundation

Saint Louis Story Stitchers is seeking nominations to the board of directors. The board is a diverse group of parents, professionals, and caring adults who give of themselves in various ways including time, skills, knowledge, and funds.

We are all very grateful for the giving of board members, past and present. You are the foundation that our artists and youth build upon. Thank you to our past and to our current board members!

2019 Board of Directors:

Susan Colangelo, President  and CEO

Cassandria White, Vice President

Sarah Gaby, Ph.D. Secretary

Maggie Wu, CPA, Treasurer

Members At Large:

Breona Butler – Chris Hansen – Keisa Johnson, Esq. – Eric Kayira, Esq. – Donna Campbell, Ph.D. – Ebony Boyce Carter, MD, MPH – Mary Chandler – Wanda Wang – Hedy Lee, Ph.D.

The Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective, a 501(c)(3) organization, is professional artists and inner-city youth grades ages 16-24, working together to create social change with a focus on gun violence prevention. Stitchers collect local stories, reframe and retell them through art, writing and performance to promote understanding, civic pride, intergenerational relationships and literacy. Story Stitchers are artists-in-residence at Kranzberg Arts Foundation in the vibrant Grand Center Arts District and run a Storefront Studio for publishing at 616 N Skinker Blvd. in the historic Loop District.

Since 2013 Saint Louis Story Stitchers have gained support from or collaborated with: Washington University in St. Louis, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, Missouri Foundation for Health, Regional Arts Commission, Missouri Arts Council, Mid-America Arts Alliance, National Endowment for the Arts, Missouri Humanities Council, National Endowment for the Humanities, Youthbridge Community Foundation, Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund, Saigh Foundation, Cardinals Care, University of Missouri’s Extension Service’s St. Louis Storytelling Festival, KWMU’s We Live Here, Saint Louis Art Museum, Fringe Fest, St. Louis Mental Health Board, and more. The Collective meets with youth year-round and has presented publicly over 150 times, engaging a diverse audiences of over 15,000.

We are currently seeking nominations to the board of directors for Members At Large: 

MEMBERS AT LARGE 

Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective seeks nominations for Member At Large to the board. The board lends oversight and professional expertise to the volunteer administrative leadership. The board meets quarterly with an annual meeting and election in December. Board members are asked to give at a level stretching their personal capacity, participate in fundraising activities including the annual Bowl A Thon, and attend four board meetings each year. Board members are expected to act as advocates for the organization and attend or help to organize a minimum of one to two events per year.

Saint Louis Story Stitchers does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or national guard status, or any other factor prohibited by law in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in its programs and/or activities.

To apply or nominate a friend, please reach out:

storystitchers.org/

616 N Skinker Blvd. Saint Louis, MO 63130

To apply, please contact:

Susan Colangelo, President & CEO

storystitchers@gmail.com – 706-255-5835 mobile – 314-899-9001 storefront studio

Donation

Support the educational programs of Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective.

$25.00

Seattle Bound!


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Saint Louis Story Stitchers is honored to participate in the Unity Summit presented by Change Philanthropy in Seattle, Washington on November 19th and 20th, 2019. Eight of the Stitchers Youth Council’s leading performing artists who are 18-21 years old will share their skills with 850 conference attendees. In addition, Story Stitchers will present a full program including a discussion with Missouri Foundation for Health‘s Jessi LaRose for our session, Power UP Communities of Color with Out of the Box Philanthropy.

Stitchers Youth Council members are excited, nervous and curious about flying, Seattle, the Space Needle and the Museum of Pop Culture, just to name a few things… check in on Instagram and Twitter @storystitchers for updates from the road!

Story Stitchers would like to express our thanks to Missouri Foundation for Health and to the Unity Summit for sponsoring this trip. You rock!! Thank you so much!!

PUBLIC STORY COLLECTION


DSC_0041PUBLIC STORY COLLECTION: Neighborhood Heroes

The WHY of MY City is an artistic commission designed to raise awareness on gun violence prevention and rebuild civic pride for St. Louis, MO, which has neighborhoods that are reeling from gun violence. A new work by African American artists will explore why citizens do and should care about their neighborhoods, even as outsiders might see the same city blocks as uninhabitable. Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artist Collective is working collaboratively to create an approach to public health issues affecting Missouri’s African American urban youth. The Collective brings the arts to the forefront through a unique form of “urban storytelling” that includes rhythm, rap and word to attract attention, build excitement, and communicate key concepts from public safety and health professionals to the public.

Story Stitchers will be collecting stories from residents and encouraging them to share what their community means to them as part of The WHY of MY City. Please visit the Storefront Studio and share your story.

 

We’d like to hear from you.

Drop in to the Stitchers Storefront Studio at 616 N Skinker Blvd in the Delmar Loop.

Public Audio Recording Sessions (or by appointment):

Saturday, November 9, 2018, 10:00-2:00

The WHY of MY City is created and will premiere at the 2020 St. Louis Storytelling Festival with support from Mid-America Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Arts, Missouri Humanities Council, a state agency, Missouri Foundation for Health, and Kranzberg Arts Foundation.

PUBLIC STORY COLLECTION: VIOLENCE AND PEACE

When a person lives in an urban area where sirens, screeching tires, and gunshots can be heard nightly, how will their sense of self and world view change when that person experiences and explores native prairies?

If you would like to contribute a story to the Peace in the Prairie project’s archives, about violence or peace that you have experienced in either the city or the prairie lands of Missouri, please contact Story Stitchers at storystitchers@gmail.com, call 314-899-9001, or drop by the Storefront Studio during one of the Story Collection sessions.

We’d like to hear from you.

Drop in to the Stitchers Storefront Studio at 616 N Skinker Blvd in the Delmar Loop.

Saturday, November 9, 2018, 10:00-2:00

Peace in the Prairie is supported by an Annual Discipline Minority Arts grant from Missouri Arts Council.

The project is also supported by a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health. The Foundation is a resource for the region, working with communities and nonprofits to generate and accelerate positive changes in health. As a catalyst for change, the Foundation improves the health of Missourians through a combination of partnership, experience, knowledge, and funding.

Peace in the Prairie is supported by Kranzberg Arts Foundation where Story Stitchers is a resident organization.

 

 

 

 

Pick the City UP Tour Highlights!


Saint Louis Story Stitchers loved the 2019 Pick the City UP Tour!!! Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate our city with us!!

Check the Tour Highlights video HERE!!

Pick the City UP 2019 Tour presents Saint Louis Story Stitchers unique brand of urban storytelling, featuring live original STL hip hop, spoken word and story magic on public health issues St. Louis cares about including gun violence. Pay tribute, join the fun, and make a difference. Bringing positive change to the Lou.

Story Stitchers performed all over the Lou! Fun, educational, family-friendly shows you will remember! Artists in Residence Bobby Norfolk, Ntegrity, KP Dennis, Chris Pendleton, Superhood and our super summer coordinator Bailey Spencer, with board members Susan Colangelo and Cassandria White helped to pull it all together into an amazing series of events!

Pick the City UP 2019 Tour is presented with support from Missouri Foundation for Health, Regional Arts Commission, LUSH Corporation’s The Charity Pot, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, Steward Family Foundation, Cardinals Care, and Incarnate Word Foundation. Thank you!!!

#DROPTHEGUN  #KEEPTHEPEACE STL!!

Peace and love to our wonderful hosts and partners and to all of the vendors that came out to share their work and their resources with the people.

We love y’all!! You’re the best of St. Louis!!

Saturday, July 6 we kicked off the Tour during Fair St. Louis! at the Gateway Arch National Park. Shout out to Erin, Jennifer and Chanda for your hospitality!
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Tuesday, July 9 Pick the City UP Art Activists Training, Youth @ The Center was held at Kranzberg Arts Center in Grand Center. Thanks to Joel King for the great workshop!

Saturday, July 13, we visited our friends Carla and Miguel at Tillie’s Corner in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood! Always so warm and friendly and one of our favorite spots in the city! 

Tuesday, July 16 and Thursday, July 25, Pick the City UP celebrated freedom of speech with Youth Open Mic’s at Thomas Dunn Learning Center and The Fellowship in the Dutchtown Neighborhood. This program included two Pick the City UP Youth Open Mic’s presented by Story Stitchers Youth Council and South Side Youth Council. You’re amazing!!
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Saturday, August 3, 2nd year for the WEST SIDE STREET FEAST, we had a blast with our friends at the Wellston Loop Community Development Corporation at 1514 Hodiamont in the Wells-Goodfellow Neighborhood. Shout out to Antwan, Kim, Karen, Don and Justin and to St. Louis County Parks for the big bandwagon stage! Thanks to Dr. Punch and Stop the Bleed STL, Lucas at MetroMarket, the St. Louis Fire Department and the STLMPD Polar Cops and all the amazing vendors!

XXX                                                                                                                                                    Tuesday, August 6, we  visited St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7 FM St. Louis On TheAirCatch the podcast of Susan Colangelo, Story Stitchers President & CEO with Stitchers Youth Council members Tylea Wilson and AnnaLise Cason.  Special thanks to Producer Emily Woodbury!                                                                  

Saturday, August 10, huge Back to School event at the Bayer Health Fair at Urban Expo presented by Missouri Foundation for Health and the Urban League of St. Louis at the America’s Center, Downtown St. Louis. Next we took a bus from the America’s Center to our friends at the Greater Pentecostal Church of God’s 20th Annual Community Day at Gregory J Carter Park in the Walnut Park Neighborhood. Thanks Connie for inviting us! Always a great time! Thank you Tom Bailey for arranging our visit to the Urban Expo and to Jessi LaRose at Missouri Foundation for Health for your great work! 

Saturday, October 26, Super Heroes of the West Side—BOO hooooo!!!!  Canceled due to rain 🙁  would have been its 2nd year in the Wells-Goodfellow Neighborhood. First time (and the last we hope) that we were ever rained out!
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Thursday, October 31 on Happy Halloween we went to the Creepy Crawly Courthouse
Carnahan Courthouse in Downtown St. Louis at the invitation of Sheriff Vernon Betts and Circuit Attorney Kim Garner. Thanks for having us!

Pick the City UP 2019 Tour is presented with support from Missouri Foundation for Health, Regional Arts Commission, LUSH Corporation’s The Charity Pot, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, Steward Family Foundation, Cardinals Care, and Incarnate Word Foundation. Thank you!!!

 

Next UP

Public Story Collection @ The Storefront Studio

The WHY of MY City and Peace in the Prairie

616 N Skinker Blvd

November 9, 2019, 3:00-7:00 PM

 

Beat Making Workshop Series

Starts November 14th at 3:30 PM

616 N Skinker Blvd

16 – 19 year olds

 

For the latest news visit storystitchers.orgstorystitchers@gmail.com or 314-899-9001

 

Donation

Support the educational programs of Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective.

$25.00

Youth Missing


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15 YEAR OLD YOUTH MISSING SINCE 10/30/19

Her name is Daiana Fleming. 

Please call University City Police if you have any information. 314-725-2211

Thank you!

Happy Halloween!!


Who’s afraid of a little snow?? Not us!!

Join Story Stitchers at the Creepy Crawly Courthouse!!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Event: 4:00-7:00 PM

Pick the City UP Story Stitchers Show: 5:30 PM

Carnahan Courthouse

1114 Market Street, Room 401

St. Louis, MO 63031

Free fo all! Games, prizes, kids come in costume!!

Story Stitchers performance is sponsored in part by the Regional Arts Commission.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!!

Stitchers @ Halloween Happenings


BOO hooooo!!!!

We are so sorry to say that unfortunately, the October 26th Pick the City UP event, Super Heroes of the West Side has to be canceled this year, due to a whole lot of rain in the forecast.

Wellston Loop Community Development Corporation and Saint Louis Story Stitchers will definitely include you in the next joint venture.

Story Stitchers is still having two more Halloween-themed events in October!

We will give away the candy and books we have collected at these events.

HOWLOWEEN on the Loop 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

12:00-3:00 PM

Stitchers Storefront Studio

616 N Skinker Blvd.

St. Louis 63130

Free!! Scavenger Hunt stop! Win prizes!!

and

Creep Crawly Courthouse

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Event: 4:00-7:00 PM

Pick the City UP Story Stitchers Show: 5:30 PM

Carnahan Courthouse

1114 Market Street, Room 401

St. Louis, MO 63031

Free fo all! Games, prizes, kids come in costume!!

Story Stitchers performance is sponsored in part by the Regional Arts Commission.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!!