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Our world is changing. We offer a bridge between the youth and the teachings of elders rooted in timeless wisdom while supporting the process of creative expression and helping restore a connection to community.

Our program is designed mainly for High School and Middle-School aged students, ideally held in-person, with adaptability to be virtual.Our approach specializes in engaged learning experiences, talking circles and workshops of creative expression.

We currently hold youth education opportunities in Multnomah County, Oregon in collaboration with NAAME (501c3) and Keys, Beats, Bars

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As we face the current challenge of diminishing in-person community and healthy social connection, we recognize that youth growing up today are especially vulnerable to toxic virtual landscapes. Educators may find it difficult to engage youth and maintain interest and attention through virtual classrooms, in a social-media environment of high-speed information and screen-time overload.

​We live in the age of information where wisdom is hardest to find. It isn’t a lack of information, it is overwhelm to the point where we have no understanding of what is important. We are aiming to restore a connection between the youth and wisdom of the elders, by first meeting them where they are and offering guidance for ways of restoring connection within oneself, one’s environment and one’s community.


Voices of Wisdom & Modern Mythology meets the youth where they are, offering impactful engaging audio / visual / storytelling pieces that can spark interest for a new learning experience. We utilize modern music and video (primarily of the Hip-Hop genre) as a dynamic poetic form to introduce a particular topic / idea to be further explored. This modern mythology / storytelling piece (music video) can be followed by a corresponding sequence of elder wisdom (5-10 minutes) that provides an expanded and holistic view on the topic. Some of the main themes covered are environmental education, human-rights awareness, social responsibility and the life-affirming values of healthy community. These introduction videos are meant to spark interest for a community talking circle with space held by facilitators / mentors with questions and prompts that engage personal reflection and be applicable to student's lives. From there, we can move into grounding exercises, workshops in various forms of creativity and self-expression and a community showcase, depending on the number of sessions.

The program is adaptable to be delivered in a simplified or expanded form, carried out in a 3-day series of sessions or 4-weeks or more.


We are currently mainly serving youth aged 14-21 in Multnomah County, with an emphasis on under-served indigenous, Black and Latinx youth. We seek to serve those students who are less likely to thrive standardized educational settings, as well as youth who have experienced homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, mental health disability, learning differences, trauma, foster care/shelters and juvenile detention.

 

Hip-Hop is an art form originating from the creativity of disenfranchised inner-city youth of New York City in the 1970’s and many of the artists and educators of our program work with this genre for empowering lyrical expression.

 

Our team of artists and educators involved in the project come from diverse backgrounds and are able to meet the youth where they're at, with the ability to share their stories and experiences of finding a way to change their lives around.

We intend for the youth involved in this program to receive mentorship from positive role models, attain a newfound sense of self-empowerment and building self-worth as well as provide tools to transform negative energy of hardship or traumatic into positive forms of creative expression.

6 AREAS OF NEED ADDRESSED & SOLUTIONS

1. Limited opportunities for connection to elder wisdom and cultural teachings for youth in our community in a safe, supportive environment.


Solution: Offering a bridge to elder teachings presented in a way that is relevant to the youth in our community / demographic and providing talking circles and open sharing sessions, based in a culture of equality and respect. sharing and receiving healthy recognition, in a healthy community setting, that nourishes inner-worth.
 

2. Increasing screen-time as primary mode of communication and social-connection causing increasing anxiety, mental health issues and stimulus-addiction, which is often rooted in a deeper trauma-response.
 

Solution: Providing practical tools to slow down and shift into a more relaxed, receptive state, to feel connected within one’s body, one’s place in the environment and developing overall awareness. Guided breathing practices, sound-healing, meditation / visualization can be facilitated in-person or virtually and if the situation permits, we will facilitate nature-connection experiences.

3. Influence of the entertainment industry that is designed to turn youth in our community into consumers (rather than Creators), with the heavy influence of socially-toxic themes, fantasy escapism and messages that are degrading to the well-being of youth in our community.


Solution: Introducing youth to independent musicians and Hip-hop artists that offer conscious, empowering messages and model a way of being that is a healthy alternative to the mainstream narrative.

5. Growing up into the rapid-paced ‘age of information’, where answers can be ‘googled’, youth are underdeveloped in right-brain activity, creativity and intuition.


Solution: Facilitating an experiential learning process that supports intuitive creativity and inner-reflection (such as 'stream of consciousness writing' exercises) supporting meaningful personal connection to their work while developing discernment between one’s personal truth and external influences.

5. Standardized education models are often based in the approach to 'fill an empty vessel with information' with the outdated idea that valuable members of society = cogs in the machine.


Solution: A supportive process of awakening the genius that is already within the next generation of leaders and visionaries with the ability to create solutions to the problems we face as humanity.

6. Limited opportunities for meaningful preparation for creative career opportunities in the workplace, especially with the increase of businesses transitioning to operate from digital platforms.

Solution: Development of technical abilities in music production, video production and other creative skills in the digital medium (with an increasing need in the marketplace) along with supporting self-directed goal-setting to develop the discipline (with guidance from mentors) to see a project through to completion and build self-confidence.

6-STEP ENGAGED LEARNING APPROACH

MODERN-MYTHOLOGY INTRO

  • Creating a spark of interest through a dynamic music-video, documentary segment or audio / video storytelling piece, as an engaging way to begin exploration of a particular theme.

  • Presenting professional-quality music video productions featuring a local Hip-Hop artist delivered in dynamic form (skillful lyricism, performance and visual storytelling), to introduce a particular topic / idea.

WISDOMKEEPER SEGMENT

  • Expanding on the theme with indigenous elder wisdom teachings, providing an integrated view of the subject.

  • A range of cohesive, life-affirming themes will be covered, both from a collective perspective, such as environmental education, healthy community values and social responsibility, and the personal, such as sustaining mental health, self-worth and restoring connection within oneself, one’s environment and one’s community.

TALKING-CIRCLE

  • Creating & setting the (Sacred) space with the talking circle, which represents a small-scale community, establishing a culture of respect & equality where everyone is free to share.

  • Utilizing Wisdomkeeper question prompts

  • Activating an exploration of one’s authentic thoughts, feelings and inner-truth

GROUNDING EXPERIENCE

  • Facilitating nature-based connection and learning experiences (if environment allows, or can be lead virtually)

  • Leading students through a guided breathing practice and visualization, with drumming or background soundscape music

  • Offering ways to connect with one's inner-landscape, such as meditation and breathing practices, to access helpful and empowering tools that anyone can use on a daily-basis

CREATIVE WORKSHOPS

  • Exploring creativity as a catalyst for positive self-expression and healing.

  • Encouraging the development of self-directed goal-setting, discipline and professional skill development that will be applicable to a career path while learning from professional mentors.

  • Areas of focus: poetry, Hip-Hop lyricism, songwriting, spoken-word performance, music-video and documentary video production.

COMMUNITY SHOWCASE

  • Providing opportunities for students to perform or showcase their work

  • Students will receive the positive feedback from the community which is an acknowledgement of their work and their voice.

  • Helping to affirm self-worth and self-belief, encouraging a commitment to ongoing skill-development, as they consider a career path and place in the world, ideally with a newfound sense of belonging, with purpose, as a valuable part of the community.

EXAMPLE OF OUR DYNAMIC MEDIA

Below are examples of documentary and music videos that will be utilized in our curriculum, including: the first 15 minutes of the 7G Wisdomkeeper documentary that will be utilized for this program.

A video reel of Portland-based media-production Seven Vision, who will be producing the music videos and documentary segments for this program.

COMMUNITY PARTNERS

Keys Beats Bars, NAAME, ReWild Portland, Ascending Flow, The Earth & Spirit Council, Essential Food & Medicine (EFAM), Cypher CURE, Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations, Above The Fray

CONTRIBUTIONS

Contributions of any amount are currently being accepted to help lay the groundwork for this program. For more information please visit our donations page.

GET INVOLVED / CONTACT