Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Healing through Creativity
Lynn, Massachusetts is not an easy city to live in if you’re a kid. As a kid here, odds are you’re one of the 76% of children who comes from a low-income family. You are 47% more likely to drop out of school than kids in the rest of the state. And, you could be one of the 6 out of 10 teens who has reported witnessing an act of violence sometime over the past year.
Your life is pretty tough here, so why not join one of the 36 gangs that keeps trying to recruit you? In a gang, you’ll get identity, community, challenge, and power.
You’ll also get a dead-end life of crime.
Then again, you have another option. Raw Art Works in downtown Lynn has 40 art and film groups for children and teens aged 6 to 18. In this safe and structured environment, art therapists, studio artists, and professional film-makers create art together with at-risk youth. Youth discover their desire to create, and gain confidence in their abilities. They find out who they really are, and value what they can contribute.
If you do choose Raw over gang life, you’ll gain identity, community, challenge, and power- without the dead-end. You’ll likely be one of the 90% of Raw’s high school seniors who has built strong, trusting relationships with peers and art mentors, and is on their way to attended college.
In the darkness, you’ll experience raw hope.
Ever since the first time I saw her handing out food to the homeless downtown, I knew there was something different about her. She had a laugh that was too loud, a nervous tic when she smiled. She was the kind of person who would show up to a fancy do with red and green striped knee-highs. She fit right in at the soup kitchen.
There was also something else about her that stood out to me- it was something in the way she served out meals. She was part of the crowd, not standing sanctimoniously above it. She, too, was poor, a misfit from society, one of the hungry masses. As she gave, she too received. From her companions, she was fed with warm greetings, wide smiles, and heart-felt thanks.
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