Breaking Walls – Discover Your Voice & A Platform From Which To Share It

Breaking Walls is a not-for-profit initiative that empowers youth to discover their voice, and offers them a platform on which to use it. Breaking Walls engages and supports young people as they become creative artists and empathetic leaders of tomorrow who will actively advance personal transformation and social change on the global stage and within their home communities.
Breaking Walls promotes an ever-expanding inclusive, respectful and trusting world cultivated by our artists, ambassadors and associates. Breaking Walls youth activism guides young people in creating an alternative community; modeling an inclusive and peaceful cohabitation and social interaction built on understanding and acceptance. To ensure that Breaking Walls creates a sustainable collaboration, we offer three levels of involvement for youth: artists, 13 to 20, write and perform their original work for a live audience; ambassadors, 17 to 21, former artists who mentor the writing/performing process; and, associates, 22 to 25, participants from past Breaking Walls initiatives who have become prominent leaders in their home communities. Each young man and woman returns to their home community after our 14-day, intensive writing, performing, ensemble building experience having explored their imagination; and, embraced their creativity. And ready — in the areas of compassion, collaboration, accountability, and commitment — to nurture a world in which they can all trust one another.
Public policy and the media frequently view the young people of the world as marginalized – in need of top-down cultural and community here’s how it’s done management. Breaking Walls builds on our understanding that youth are capable of constructing the innovative solutions to combat the myriad social problems impacting their lives. We are similarly inspired by the perspectives of scholars, educators, and arts activists like Paulo Freire and Nicholas Roerich, who are interested in the role of “voice” as a means of transforming lives.
At Breaking Walls “voice” includes the extent to which young people can be heard and impact their own lives and their home communities; indeed, voice is tied directly to democracy, social justice and social change, and artistic transformation. The young people we work with often suffer from what scholars call “voice poverty” – voices rarely, if ever, sought after, and Breaking Walls successfully pushes back against the voice poverty plaguing the lives of so many young people around the world: in Brooklyn where family dysfunction and abuse, gang violence and mediocrity lead to a graduation rate 10% lower than the state average; in Bethlehem where high education levels, no work and military occupation create a tinder box; Berlin where pressure for academic and professional achievement lead to the highest teen suicide rate in the EU; in Cape Town where lack of running water, sanitation, and electricity, and an abundance of child gangs and HIVAIDS generate a rapidly increasing drop-out rate; in Barcelona where an environment of bullying is increasing the drop-out rate; in Detroit youth struggle with racial equity and the multi-level bankruptcy of their city; in Warsaw where low access to higher education and high youth unemployment are troubling; and, in Santiago where the focus is on income inequity, environmental struggles, adolescent pregnancy, discrimination, and the drive for more and better jobs for women and youth.
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