Wednesday, January 10, 2007


CityBeat Person of the Year Selection - Awesome

Wonderful article today for the annual CityBeat Person of the Year issue. Gavin Leonard, runs the Elementz Hip Hop Youth Arts Center. I wrote an article about him back in Feb. 2005, right after I had first met him.

It's absolutely amazing what he and the others behind Elementz have been able to do in the last two years. Securing funding, a permanent home, and continuing to expand the space and the offerings.

There are some really important points that Greg Flannery brings to light in his article. (it's not yet online or I would link to it). He mentions the aspect of asking what youth want. That is so incredibly important to engaging youth. They have plenty of people at school, at home and elsewhere telling them what to do. IF you provide them with a domain to own, and to really control from concept to implementation, that will be attractive to youth.

Second very important point is that the hip hop youth arts center takes something that is normally hated by main stream, and makes it a positive. Instead of telling them not to rap, not to wear there hat sideways, it treats it as a positive. It puts them in a position where they can be creative, but where they can also take ownership and responsiblity. It's not the sideways hat that makes someone fail, it's the lack of responsibility that is the culprit.

Anyway...I emplore you once again to take a look at what Gavin Leonard is doing in OTR. Visit Elementz, and maybe most importantly, add it to your list of things to support financially in 2007! The single biggest issue in OTR is idle youth on the streets. Elementz gets them off the street on a regular basis and turns their idle minds into creative minds working towards a purpose... that is important!

"The single biggest issue in OTR is idle youth on the streets."

Sure, other than the high crime rate, the lack of access to decent jobs, lack of decent mass transportation to where the jobs are (the suburbs), and having the adults there be socially isolated from social networks that lead to employment, mobility, etc.
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