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IBA’s Youth a Motivation for our Community

IBA’s Youth a Motivation for our Community

We know that the future of our community is in the hands of our youth. They are the ones who will be responsible to carry on the legacy of change and to keep on shaping the world in a positive way. At IBA we strive to let them know that we support them, and want to give them the opportunities they deserve. Our Youth Development Program is about empowerment, it is a place for young people to come together and feel that their voice is being heard, that what they have to say matters. Kimberly Cajuste, a high school student with a passion for poetry explained it best, “Our mentors, the people we work with, we can talk to them about everything and anything. They listen to us, they support us,” she said. “Basically they understand us, it’s like a community. We are a family.” [caption id="attachment_3330" align="aligncenter" width="710"]Kimberly Cajuste standing next to her poem "Praise my Accent." Kimberly Cajuste standing next to her poem "Praise my Accent."[/caption] The program integrates many different facets that come together in all of their lives. Every day after school these young artists and activists come to learn about their community and fight for what they believe in. They participate in rallies and marches, they advocate for youth jobs, they talk about issues that are affecting our society, such as racism and institutionalized oppression, and they share their own experience, whether it be just by simple conversation or through their art. After a year of dedicated effort, our youth was ready to celebrate. So, we held an event where they could showcase all of their talents. They performed choreographed dances, theater, slam poetry and poetry through movement as their parents and loved ones watched. They spoke about the world today with poems about police brutality and a duality of cultures. They showed their audience who they are and how proud they are to be. Sara Mendez, currently a sophomore at Wheelock College, shared what it all means to her, “It has allowed me to realize that there are a lot of issues in today’s society that are not being addressed and people are not conscious about them,” she said. “And we need more people that are actually fighting for those issues and that are actually solving them.” In fact, Sara is so motivated about the work she has being doing that it has influeced her decision in career path. “I want to become a social worker to actually start improving those issues and trying to make them better,” she said. [caption id="attachment_3329" align="aligncenter" width="713"]Sara Mendez speaks about the impact IBA's Youth Development Program has had on her life. Sara Mendez speaks about the impact IBA's Youth Development Program has had on her life.[/caption] Throughout this year the Youth Program has been rallying at the state house and speaking with representatives to preserve the budget for youth jobs. As Sara explained “Now that the minimum wage was raised we need the amount of youth jobs to still be the same.” They also partnered with the Youth Affordability Coalition and were able to achieve the approval of a $10.00 public transportation youth pass in Boston. They have also been taking photography and poetry classes (Culture For Change), performing on a regular basis. For Manuel Rosario, a student at Brighton High School, this is the best part of the program. ““It’s like when you win something you get happy, when I’m up there [on stage], I am happy,” he said. Romel Bodden another high school student has also had a positive experience learning and participating in the arts, “It made me find out who I was as an artist and where I belong,” he said. [caption id="attachment_3326" align="aligncenter" width="704"]IMG_9179 Photography art by IBA's Youth Program.[/caption] All of this students have one thing in common. They all come to the Youth Development Program to learn about each other and share a space. They are all different, but they are able to find the common threads between their experiences and create unity to be the positive change they want in the world. As Kimberly said, “You have a voice here, even though you see different people you still have common things, you can still feel like you are close together.” Are you still looking for a summer job? If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of applications for the summer session are now open, click here to apply. [embed]http://youtu.be/aYb4_0N7Q9M[/embed]...

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