I have had the immeasurable pleasure of working for the last two years with the Stadium School Youth Dreamers, a non-profit organization dedicated to decreasing the amount of violence youth are exposed to after school by opening a youth-run youth center. There is something incredible that is happening at this organization. The young people involved and their adult allies are some of the most amazing people that I have met in my life. The environment that teacher/director Kristina Berdan creates in the classroom, where youth learn the nuts and bolts of non-profit management and that will shortly be created in the youth center is one of creativity, openness, and sharing, where all have a voice and are invited to participate. As a community artist it is this kind of circumstance that I try to create in my programming. Too often it is this feeling that is lost in the creation of an organization and that is missing from institutions. One of the questions in my own life and work is how to create something larger than myself that does not lose the joy of creation, once it has been established. I find inspiration in the Youth Dreamers. They have been in existance since 2001 and still maintain one of the most beautiful and joyous environments that I have ever experienced.  The youth center feels like family, in a good way.  It feels like home, in a way that is rare to find, but that we must work to create.  

For more information on the Youth Dreamers see: www.youthdreamers.org