A Place for Me THE CENTER. Youth are at the CENTER of everything. They tell us what they need. Where they are in life. Where they are today. Everyone we serve has experienced trauma from violence, from poverty, from marginalization. At Story Stitchers, adult artists and youth collaborate to create new works of art. Creation and expression provide space for commonality and affection. Empowerment. Healing. Every photograph, every dance, every story processes some small piece of trauma. Youth reported that friends, the arts, leadership opportunities, access to mentors, and earning money are protective factors that help them make positive decisions. They told us, and we listened.
A Place for Me THE CENTER. A place for solace. Support. Contemplation. A place for self-expression.
A Place for Me THE CENTER. The interior spaces are being designed by me, the youth for youth.
Saint Louis Story Stitchers uses nonviolent collective action and creative youth development to create systemic social change.
Youth bring raw experiences and are supported by regionally and nationally recognized black artists and scholars who work alongside the young activists through collaborative learning experiences inviting dialogue and generating raw, authentic works of art. Story Stitchers use music, spoken word, photography, videography, and dialogue to highlight stories related to trauma such as gun violence, life transitions, and mental health. The work promotes mutual respect for diverse backgrounds and lived experiences, and fosters understanding across the racial, socioeconomic, and age divisions of our region.
PSAs for Public Health and Safety
The WHY of MY City
Pick the City UP
Peace in the Prairie
“Story Stitchers and home? One and the same! Story Stitchers nurtures our best selves just as home does. Most of the youth who start off are lost, troubled or hurting and Story Stitchers helps ease those problems and guides them through a process of self-confidence building. Without Story Stitchers… without home, where would we be?”
- 129 total youth in all programs with 40 of participants podcasting. Youth engaged in podcasts
- Youth self-reported improvement in the following areas:
- Communication skills 90%
- Technical skills 83%
- Teamwork 100%
- Self expression 94%
- Respectfully disagree 79%
- Knowledge about media arts 84%
- Podcast on my own 68%
- More comfortable with public speaking 73%
- Increased my interest in helping my community 78%
- Learned about community resources. 73%
- Made a new friend 68%
- Like to participate again? 89%.
- Over the year, youth engaged 1,096 times in 234 educational program activities and 39 Public performances and presentations. 40 podcasts were published through 93 workshop sessions and 311 units of youth service.
- $55,000 stipends were earned by youth
“For me, it was just a pretty cool experience to be on a podcast for the first time and just to meet new people. It helped me with my listening skills. Like just to listen what others have to say and not debate opinions but listen to others and see their perspective from different points of view.” – 17 year old male
Organization’s 3 – 5 year vision: The goal of Story Stitchers is to promote a better educated, more peaceful, and more caring region through storytelling.
We are driven by the guiding principles that:
- Artists can be catalysts for social change
- Youth are the future of humanity and
- Active learning through collaborative experiences promotes thoughtful creativity.
To achieve these goals, Saint Louis Story Stitchers engages youth in educational activities including research, writing, collaborative learning with peers and adults, public speaking, presentation and discussion, writing, recording and editing, and various business skills related to building a nonprofit. These activities also provided opportunities to engage with the public in community building through art exhibitions, concerts and performances, and media interviews.
Story 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. Gun violence continues to be a pressing public health crisis that consumes the attention of the engaged youth, and artistic expression helps youth work through the pain and loss they have experienced.
You can have a great impact in 2023! Your generosity will support more than 250 youth who need:
• To find a safe place to meet and find mentors at The Center
• A positive future removed from the world of guns and gangs
• To be all they can be—academically, socially and culturally
As you reflect on the impact you want to make with your year-end giving, please remember Story Stitchers youth need you!
President and Executive Director
Saint Louis Story Stitchers is a 501(c)(3) public charity.