Manuel Perez, Age 17
What is success?
Is it the big mansion and the shiny sports cars?
Is it the millions in the bank and the shirt and tie?
Or is it finding yourself?
Is it reaching a goal that you long struggled for?
Is it doing what you want without caring about what others will say?
Breaking the barrier of society that wants you to
Walk a fine line without stepping out.
A line set by the followers and not the leaders.
Success is being the owner of your thoughts and values
Which you guard with your sharp sword,
Without letting society push you to fit in.
Think of a time you felt invisible. Maybe you were picked last in gym class, or your input in a group setting was ignored and overlooked. Think of the power and validation you found when you finally became visible. That feeling is what AfA is about!
When a youth like Manuel writes a poem about success, he isn’t just responding to a prompt. He is sharing a part of himself, a part which deserves to be seen, heard and respected. Whether through a workshop at school or on the streets for First Friday, AfA’s young artists demonstrate the power in finding your voice. At AfA, we remember what it feels like to be picked first, and we watch as youth experience that confirmation for the first time.
But it takes a team, a group to stand together and listen, to acknowledge, empower and show our youth that someone is on their team. If we are going to continue to create space for youth, we need you. Donating money for us to buy notebooks, bring in a guest speaker or fund a workshop is an investment in our youth and the importance of their voice. It shows them that someone is on their team. And as many of us can remember from school or gym class, there is no better feeling.
Our youth have shared a part of themselves with their community, and with you as our supporters and donors. Give back this holiday season, and let them know they are being heard.
If you want to make a real and tangible impact in the lives of Denver youth today, here are some ways you can show our youth how much you believe in them:
- A one-time gift of $2,000 will support a year’s worth of weekly 2-hour workshops for a struggling young person.
- A one-time gift of $5,000 will provide the cost of an 8-workshop program for 20 youth ($15/hr. per young person), which would include operating costs as well as program expenses.
- 12 monthly donations of $100 or a one-time gift of $1,400 provides one-month’s rent (ooh, if 12 people did that…)
- A one-time gift of $250 allows us to publish the youth poems from one 8-week session.
- A one-time gift of $100 buys writing materials for two workshops.
- A one-time donation of $50 allows us to bring a guest poet/artist to one workshop to inspire and encourage the youth in our programs.