We Live To Create! LPTM Newsletter April 2014
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We Live To Create! Celebrating the Artist in Every Individual
Dear Wonderful Life Pieces Family,
"I'm not really creative."
We hear people say that all the time. Unless you're an artist in the conventional sense - a writer, painter, sculptor, musician, dancer - there's a good chance you have said it yourself. It's a line a lot of people like to draw: there are the creative folks, and then there's everybody else.
At Life Pieces, we couldn't disagree more - so we work every day to erase that line. We've worked with over 1,500 young men in our 18 years, in addition to hundreds of volunteers, mentors, and teachers, and every single one was and is creative. To take it even further: we believe every single human being is a brilliant artist. That's what we teach our Apprentices (program participants) every day. And since Arts was April's value of the month at Life Pieces, that's what we'd like to share with you now.
We use our unique, collaborative artistic style to give our Apprentices space to process their experiences in a positive way, and we expose them to as many art forms as possible to give them a chance to explore new possibilities. And while that emphasis is central to what makes Life Pieces unique and successful, our understanding of the creative process isn't limited to those forms.
Not everyone loves to draw or paint, to write poems, or to play guitar, but everyone comes with their own unique set of talents and strengths, which we call their innate creative abilities. Those abilities are as diverse as the individuals who carry them. In addition to great painters, we've seen young men who are great listeners, others who are great speakers, many who are academically gifted, who are amazing athletes, whose capacity for empathy and care is remarkable. We believe that it is in discovering and activating those innate creative abilities that we become true artists.
Whatever an Apprentice's gifts are, they can become his own art form. And whatever that art form is, we nurture it and create space for it to be expressed.
This is because each young man's unique skills can become his foundation, the tools he uses to navigate through life's challenges. To choose to persevere, to grow, and to turn challenges into possibilities is a creative act. That's why a line from the Life Pieces Anthem, written in the early years of the program and still taught today, claims "Our purpose in life is 'We live to create!'"
It is this focus on each individual's brilliance and creative potential that has allowed us to grow and thrive alongside our Apprentices for nearly two decades. It is also what has made us a leading voice in black male development. In the month of April alone,
- LPTM presented at the 2014 Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) Conference for the third straight year, after being the previous year's highest-rated workshop;
- Our Apprentices' artwork was the central, month-long exhibit at Harvard University in conjunction with the Revisiting "Repairing the Breach": The Way Forward for African-American Males Conference;
- LPTM participated in multiple national Twitter chats (#AfAmEdChat, #BMOCchat), helping to lead the discussion on President Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative and other key concerns in black male achievement; and
- Life Pieces received the 2014 Dr. Asa G. Hilliard Model of Excellence Award from the College Board.
Creating an environment where young black men can awaken to their own power and potential - that's our art form at Life Pieces. We're honored to have you connected to that mission.
Now go out and create!
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