Youth from UCAN’s 360 Community Program participate in a spoken word writing workshop
At UCAN, we understand we cannot always be everything to everyone. That’s why we’ve concentrated efforts into partnering with organizations that can expand healing and creative outlets for our youth, including our newly formed partnership with Urban Gateways. The organization was awarded an Art Works: Creativity Connects grant and will implement art programming in North Lawndale for youth healing from trauma. Through this program, youth who participate in UCAN’s 360 Community Program will be served. The program began January 1, 2017 and will run through June 30.
Facilitators will work with adolescents to create art in the areas of spoken word, instrumental, painting, ceramics, singing, dance and culinary arts. Urban Gateways will deliver after-school group programming to youth in conjunction with UCAN’s youth development coaches at UCAN’s John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols Program Center. Depending on the youth development coach, the teens will either be assigned to a specific art form based on their interests or what area their coach feels exposure would be beneficial.
Staff at Urban Gateways and some of the teaching artists have benefited from trauma-informed training facilitated by Jacob Dancer, Program Manager for UCAN’s 360 Community Program. Trauma-informed training is geared to help adults who work with youth gain a better understanding of the effects of trauma in our neighborhoods and on the youth and families we serve.
“Using some of the knowledge I’ve learned from the trauma-informed training, I was able pass it along to some of the artists. Art puts a voice to trauma that cannot be said. Some youth struggle with saying what they have gone through but they can draw it, paint and express it,” explained Dancer.
In addition to the 360 program, Urban Gateways is extending the program to UCAN’s Diermeier Therapeutic Youth Home. Teaching artists will come in during the youth home’s family nights so that the arts programming can be extended to friends and families of youth who need it.
Beyond the healing aspect of the program, Dancer wants the youth to be able to display their art with others. “I want to see participants put on a show for UCAN staff, youth and the community to come and see. Not a talent show where they are judges, but just a performance including spoken word, drumming and dance. Maybe we can also have a gallery for all of the artwork.”
Check back for updates on this exciting partnership.