The attendees of one of Y.O.U.th’s programs Coaching Boys Into Men at Everybody Eats PDX. Image courtesy of Y.O.U.th.
How did the Y.O.U.th project begin and how long have you been around?
Youth Organized and United to Help (Y.O.U.th) began in 2007 after the death of a former student, Davonte Lightfoot. We held our first event in February 2007, three weeks after his death. Y.O.U.th became incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit in 2010. Our name was inspired by a revolutionary humanitarian, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, after he named an annual convention in 2008, It’s All About the Y.O.U.th. Our founder was so inspired after attending the conference that she decided to adopt many of the practices used and apply them to our annual youth summit; including empowering workshops that focus on youth culture, issues, and hip hop.
What are the main goals of your work?
We have four tenants we follow: Literacy, Advocacy, Training & Workshops.
At Y.O.U.th, we’re connectors. We specialize in intergenerational organizing and have built a successful framework to galvanize youth and adults and engage communities.We accomplish that through:
- Raising awareness around the school to prison pipeline epidemic
- Inspiring literacy and eliminating barriers
- Stimulating parent advocacy and training educators
We take a holistic approach to facilitation and education, pulling from our expertise in Trauma-Informed Care, Restorative Justice, Collaborative Problem Solving, Strength – Based Approach, Cultural Responsive, Empathy & Compassion.
Our work is also rooted in the five elements of Hip Hop:
- B-Boy/B-Girl: Body movement, health, exercise, street dance forms
- Emcee: Rhythmic talk, poetry and divine speech, which includes beat boxin body music and body language
- Graffiti: Street calligraphy, art and handwriting that can be found in Kemet, Egypt and Olmecs, Mayan Culture
- Deejay: Rap music production and radio broadcasting which comes from the word Djembe, translating to an African drum representing the heartbeat of the people
- Knowledge: History, past, present and future, with all elements there must be a level of knowledge and consciousness.