Foster Youth Express Deeply Personal Life Experiences through Creative Arts

After spending six Friday afternoons over the past summer writing poems, taking photos, painting colorful canvases, capturing candid moments on video and recording rap songs in the studio, Unity Care’s foster youth are proud and excited to showcase deeply personal works of art.  On Friday, October 10th, 2008, these courageous youth will present unique works of art in video, magazine and studio recording that reflect their backgrounds and life changing experiences in the foster care system.

The Focus Media Project is Unity Care’s new multifaceted project that gives Unity Care’s youth in residential care an outlet for self-expression by providing them the skills, tools and positive encouragement to do so.  Unity Care recognized three critical problems facing at-risk young people; 1) The lack of positive outlets for self expression; 2) The lack of access to technology; 3) The need for minority representation within the television and film industries.  The multi-service youth and family development agency, which will celebrate fifteen years of quality service to at-risk youth and families in November, acted swiftly to develop a program that not only gives these vulnerable young people a positive outlet for creative self expression, but directly reduces the “digital divide” by increasing youth’s access and knowledge of technology hardware/software, and finally exposes these young people to career opportunities within the television and film industries that they had only dreamed about.

Each participant chooses one of the three following creative arts projects to complete; 1) Video: Unity Care residents work with facilitators to produce short documentaries that depict individual experiences within the foster care system and their hopes and aspirations for the future;  2) Magazine: Foster youth collaborate with staff from Silicon Valley De-Bug magazine to create a magazine that showcases their prose, poetry and photography; 3) Studio Recording: Unity Care residents partner with local artists and engineers to produce their own music CD which showcase their singing, rapping, instrumental and poetic abilities.

Each of the individual components is six weeks long with facilitators providing one hour of instruction per week. Unity Care residents also receive positive encouragement from special guest speakers and field trips to local radio and television stations. Prominent bay area rapper and producer, Traxamillion, a steadfast supporter, will also make a special guest appearance.

By providing youth a safe and secure environment to express themselves, Unity Care arms youth with the tools and skills needed to expand their horizons.  With renewed self confidence they are able to focus on making their dreams of a better and brighter future a reality.

The Focus Media Project Showcase will take place on Friday, October 10, 2008 at the Silicon Valley De-Bug Center in San Jose.  The program was made possible through generous grants from the Winifred Clive Johnson Foundation and Arts Council Silicon Valley.

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