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Grantee Spotlight: Voices UnBroken

Voices UnBroken is a Bronx-based nonprofit that provides underheard members of the community – specifically youth ages 12-24 – with tools and opportunities for creative self-expression. Voices UnBroken was founded 15 years ago with the belief that all people have an inherent need – and an inherent right – to tell their stories and be heard. It is our belief that this telling of stories and sharing of dreams leads to individual and community growth.

A.A. Milne (1)

Our Teaching Artists/Workshop Facilitators lead creative writing workshops in a variety of settings across New York including Rikers Island, juvenile justice facilities, group homes and other alternative settings.This last year Voices UnBroken heard over 600 unique voices, representing every borough, in over 300 workshops. Our workshop sessions are 90 minutes long and there are usually 8-10 sessions in one cycle, depending on the needs of the site.

The youth we seek to engage in our workshops are the ones who are more likely to pick a fight than pick up a pencil to write. The youth who think they’ll “do it wrong” are matched with Teaching Artists who strive to show them otherwise. Our workshops are guided by a principle we call “Relentless Engagement.” This phrase has been interpreted in many different ways by Teaching Artists over the years, but the foundation of the Relentless Engagement is to work through resistance and to recognize that participation and success look different for different young people. In the end, we find that our workshops give our youth the space to reflect on their past experiences and find the power of their own voice.

I speak up

for my family and my brothers

I speak loud

because I’ve got to overcome

the system while I’m in here

I will speak

about keeping people

out of jail

so they can enjoy

freedom…

-G, Age 15

Sheltering Arms Marrolla

If you would like to learn more about Voices UnBroken, or would like to learn how to get involved, please visit www.voicesunbroken.org or email info@voicesunbroken.org. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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