#CreativeYouthDevelopment

Wholistic Homecomings


 

“I think of a safe space, where I don’t have to worry about being judged. Home is a warm place, a place where I can find loved ones or people I care deeply about.” — Branden Lewis, Youth Program Coordinator, Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artist Collective

The Wholistic Homecomings Essay Series welcomes readers to examine the variety of ways that Creative Youth Development organizations push our collective thinking forward on building trust, safety, and family during these extraordinary times.

Launched in 2017 with a mission to partner with transformative leaders who create positive change by investing in young people through music, The Lewis Prize for Music (TLPM) has built a network of over 70 funded organizations. Through a national prize process granting cycle, TLPM identified the second cohort of Accelerator Awardees, whose organizations underscore the potential for young people to utilize Creative Youth Development as a vehicle to address inequitable systems that have unjustly marginalized their communities.

The 2021 Accelerator Awardees are Celina Miranda from Hyde Square Task Force (Boston, Massachusetts), DeLashea Strawder from Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit (Detroit, Michigan), Matthew Kerr and Christopher Thornton from Beyond the Bars (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), and Susan Colangelo from Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective (Saint Louis, Missouri). Each of the Accelerator Awardees received $500,000 from The Lewis Prize for Music to uplift systems change efforts at their respective organizations.

Following the Accelerator Award recognition, The Lewis Prize for Music invited these leaders to share with a national audience the ways their organizations have emerged as vital spaces for belonging, centering the leadership values, practices, and strategies that have led youth to thrive. In the Wholistic Homecomings Essay Series, Accelerator Awardees highlight the importance of homecoming, reflecting on the ways their organizations have risen to the immense challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the gaps they have already strived to fill in response to systemic inequities.

The Wholistic Homecomings Essay Series welcomes readers to examine the variety of ways that Creative Youth Development organizations push our collective thinking forward on building trust, safety, and family during these extraordinary times. Accelerator Awardees highlight the importance of homecoming, reflecting on the ways their organizations have risen to the immense challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the gaps they have already strived to fill in response to systemic inequities.

Learn about the work of #CreativeYouthDevelopment organizations who are recreating the concept of home in the new Wholistic Homecomings Essay Series written by The Lewis Prize for Music Accelerator Awardees www.thelewisprize.org/wholistic-homecomings

Drawing Credit: Chandra, commissioned by The Lewis Prize For Music for The Wholistic Homecomings Essay Series

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