Teens Research Youth Homelessness


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Teen Council members are working diligently on the Youth Mini grant they received from the St. Louis Mental Health Board to provide resource backpacks to transient and homeless youth at the Patrick Henry Downtown Academy in St. Louis.

Some of the facts they discovered this week —

*The Dept. of Justice estimates that every year, over 1.7 million teens experience homelessness in the U.S.

*In 2014, 45,205 homeless youth were unaccompanied by adults.

Covenant House in St. Louis serves 6,400 homeless youth ages 16-21 every year.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF YOUTH AND TEEN HOMELESSNESS?

*They suffered or witnessed child abuse or neglect in the home.

*About 80% of homeless youth (aged 12-21) use drugs or alcohol to self medicate.

*According to estimates by the Urban Institute, nearly 1 in 5 youth under the age of 18 will run away at least once.

*Approximately 40% of homeless teens are LGBT.

*Over 50% of young people in shelters and on the streets report that their parents told them to leave or knew they were leaving and didn’t care.

*Of youth who run away, 41% have been abandoned by their parents for at least 24 hours and 43% have been beaten by a caretaker.

*Children living on the streets are more likely to engage in “survival sex” trading sex to gain food, clothing, drugs, money, or just for a safe place to sleep at night.

*Every year, approximately 5,000 homeless young people will die because of assault, illness, or suicide while trying to survive.

 

Stitchers Storefront Studio OPEN TODAY 10-7:00


Buzz Spector, professor of art, leads students from Story Stitchers in creating one of his trademark book installation at the Story Stitchers Storefront Studio at 616 N. Skinker. (Photo: Danny Reise/WUSTL Photos)
Buzz Spector, professor of art, leads students from Story Stitchers in creating one of his trademark book installation at the Story Stitchers Storefront Studio at 616 N. Skinker. (Photo: Danny Reise/WUSTL Photos)

Professor Buzz Spector teamed up with Saint Louis Story Stitchers to create an onsite book installation to raise awareness about gun violence. From 10:0-7:00 Tuesday, June 2nd, citizens are invited to put on an orange T-shirt and have their photographs taken and posted to #WearingOrange in support of the National Gun Violence Awareness Day social media campaign.

VOTE NOW to support Saint Louis Story Stitchers in their efforts to make a positive impact in our neighborhoods. Through June 3, you can vote for The Weight of Words Cause, a program developed by the Story Stitchers to train teens in digital storytelling, and to put down guns for books. Sponsored by State Farm, the Neighborhood Assist program will award $25,000 grants to 40 causes across the United States. With the grant, the Story Stitchers plan to purchase iPads, cameras, and computers for their new storefront studio.

National Gun Violence Awareness Day


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The Saint Louis Story Stitchers will close internationally recognized artist Buzz Spector’s book installation, Not ONE More, on June 2nd, National Gun Violence Awareness Day, as we ask the public to visit and be photographed wearing an orange T-shirt to participate in #WearOrange in collaboration with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. #WearOrange was started by teens in Chicago after the loss of a friend due to gun violence and has grown to be a national event.

The space at 616 N Skinker Blvd will be open 10:00-7:00 June 2nd, so please drop in! Buzz will join us from 5:00-7:00.

Please continue to vote for the Weight of Words Cause, in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant competition, which see teens put down guns for books through the power of art. We are #144 out of nearly 4,000 community causes nationwide, but we need to rise to the top 40 to bring home funds to St. Louis. Right now, it looks like we need a small miracle to make that leap.

Please vote for the Weight of Words 10X a day through midnight June 3rd and please share, share, share!
http://www.state-assist.com/mobile/3/cause-details?cause=1406053&filter=%7B%22state%22%3A%22all%22%7D

Thank you for participating. We hope to see you on June 2nd!

http://act.everytown.org/signup/Join-Moms/

The Story behind the Stitchers’ Logo


Story Stitchers are Turning Orange for National Gun Violence Awareness Day, June 2nd. Photo Susan Colangelo
Story Stitchers are Turning Orange for National Gun Violence Awareness Day, June 2nd. Photo Susan Colangelo

The circular symbol in our logo comes from the West African Adinkra symbol called Adinkrahene, chief of the Adinkra symbols. It stands for greatness, charisma and the importance of playing a role in community leadership.

Adinkra cloth is hand-stamped in Ghana and worn by people in a variety of social and festive gatherings. Adinkra symbols express various themes related to the history, beliefs, and philosophy of the Asante people of Ghana. Sometimes they are related to wisdom as taught through traditional proverbs. Adinkra cloth has been called story cloth, as numerous symbols are stamped in blocks on one cloth, perhaps telling the story of a person’s life.

Adinkrahene is a beautiful symbol of leadership in community.

We want to give a shout out to Jessica Colangelo from Somewhere Studio in L.A. who designed it for us. Jessica and her partner Charles Sharpless are also designing the interior space of the new Stitchers Storefront Studio.

Please VOTE HERE for the Weight of Words Cause today!

Becky Morgan Challenges Youth to Take Action


Saint Louis Story Stitchers are turning orange for National Gun Violence Awareness Day with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America,  June 2nd.  We want YOU to join us! Support the Weight of Words Cause to promote literacy over guns.
Saint Louis Story Stitchers are turning orange for National Gun Violence Awareness Day with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, June 2nd. We want YOU to join us! Support the Weight of Words Cause to promote literacy over guns.

Becky Morgan, leadership chair of the St. Louis chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, shares her personal commitment to the cause and challenges youth to take action on gun violence.

Saint Louis Story Stitchers ask you to vote for literacy over gun violence by supporting the Weight of Words Cause in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist facebook competition. Today we are #143 out of 4,000 nationwide. We still need to rise to the top 40 causes by midnight June 3rd to bring home $25,000 to St. Louis for gun violence awareness. Vote everyday and share, share, share with your friends! Peace.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE 10X FOR THE WEIGHT OF WORDS

Youth Homelessness Awareness


Jamala Rogers from the Saint Louis Mental Health Board meets with Stitchers Teen Council members to discuss their youth mini-grant. Watch the videos shared with her by Stitchers teens below.
Jamala Rogers from the Saint Louis Mental Health Board meets with Stitchers Teen Council members to discuss their youth mini-grant. Watch the videos shared with her by Stitchers teens below.

Stitchers Teen Council members applied for and received a $1,000 Youth Mini Grant from the Saint Louis Mental Health Board to create resource support backpacks for children attending Patrick Henry Downtown Academy Elementary School, Saint Louis Public School District. Bags will be stuffed with a sleeping bag, flashlight, toiletries, and a youth poncho.

Yesterday Teen Council members had their planning check-in meeting with Ms. Jamala Rogers from the Saint Louis Mental Health Board at the Stitchers Storefront Studio. After the meeting Teen Council members planned their final shopping trip and then Juwuan and Emeara went to choose the toiletry items and place the order.

Life Foundation and Ready Readers are partnering organizations supplying books and school supplies. Additional funds are being collected by the Saint Louis Story Stitchers to create additional backpacks through June 1st, 2015. Teen Council members are hoping to have 20 first aid kits to include but are already $14 over their $1,000 budget. See storystitchers.org home page for details. Be sure to mark your check “Big Hug in a Bag.” Teens will present their project to the public July 25th. Check here for details: UPCOMING

Please remember to VOTE HERE 10 x for the Weight of Words Cause today!

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Emeara and Juwuan from Stitchers Teen Council shop for toiletries to include in the youth resource backpacks, sponsored by a youth mini-grant from the Saint Louis Mental Health Board.

In this video Teen Council members describe the grant project, entitled “BIG HUG in a Bag.”.

And here is the video, “Breaking Boundaries” created by Stitchers Teen Council member Raffael Holz-Eckmann that started everyone thinking about homelessness.

“O” = Not One More


Buzz Spector Exhibition Opening, May 25, 2015.  Photo Susan Colangelo
Buzz Spector Exhibition Opening, May 25, 2015. Photo Susan Colangelo

The Stitchers Storefront Studio opened Monday, May 25th with a beautiful installation created by artist Buzz Spector. The piece was built on Sunday with the aid of Story Stitchers teens and artists. Most of the books utilized were donated to the Saint Louis Story Stitchers by West County Book Fair and will form the foundation of the reference library and a book sharing shelf in the new space.

The Stitchers Storefront Studio will be a recording, editing and publishing studio space for the Collective. The public will be invited to engage periodically in special community events such as video screenings, discussions related to the Story Stitchers mission, read aloud sessions, and for ongoing video recording sessions in the Saint Louis Storybook Photo Booth. Donations for equipment and furnishing are welcome and appreciated.

Buzz discussed the form the group would create with members present Sunday morning. The shape of an “O” was chosen, as it relates to The Weight of Words Cause, promoting education and literacy over guns and violence in two ways: Not ONE More of our St. Louis citizens lost to gun violence and to the national gun violence awareness  #WearOrange campaign.

Please VOTE HERE for the Weight of Words Cause

The Story Stitchers will close the exhibition on June 2nd, National Gun Violence Awareness Day, as we ask the public to visit and be photographed wearing an orange T-shirt to participate in #WearOrange in collaboration with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. The space at 616 N Skinker Blvd will be open 10:00-7:00 June 2nd, so please drop in! Buzz will join us from 5:00-7:00.

Thank you to all who attended Memorial Day!

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