One of the more unique ways that a community has been able to engage youth and use teamwork as an opportunity to teach positive work ethic is through Minneapolis’s Mentoring Peace Through Art program. The mission of this program is to use art and neighborhood improvement projects as a way to serve the social needs of at-risk youth of diverse communities by putting them in real life situations of working together. As a result, the participants of the program will feel a sense of self-worth. Mentoring Peace Through Art offers two programs: MuralWorks in the Streets and MuralWorks in the Schools.
Through the MuralWorks in the Streets program, unpleasant gang graffiti is painted over with vibrant colors to make peaceful, positive images. The majority of the teens participating in the program have very limited experience with painting, so not only are they coming together to improve their community, but they’re learning together too. During the summer of 2012, the program engaged 80 teens in the community to paint 11 murals throughout Minneapolis.
Similar to the MuralWorks in the Streets program, MuralWorks in the School also uses art as an opportunity to teach teamwork to at-risk youth. The main difference is that MuralWorks in the School works with elementary school aged students in the classroom. Throughout the fall of 2012, this program worked with 90 third-graders at Evergreen Park World Cultures Community School to turn them into “education workers” and get them excited about art.
We are advocates of mentorship at the Over My Shoulder Foundation as we understand the positive outcomes that can result from these types of relationships. Please contact us to learn more about our organization and how to find a mentorship program in your community.