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Evidence of Success

 

In the past two years 150 at risk youth from the Juvenile Department of Corrections have graduated from the Flood the Hood with Dreams program, inspired by the message of empowerment that they receive over a 5 week period, have gone on to graduate from high school, seek job employment, and successfully avoid a life of crime. Our summer camps have graduated more than 200 youth many of them went on to attend the University of Wisconsin Platteville when they reached college age.

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Flood The Hood With Dreams










Letters to the President E-Book


We are offering the e-book version of the original book to supporters of the IWNDY Campaign free of charge. The book in its hardcopy form was the culmination of the 2013 program and represents the young men finding their voices and using them to advocate for what they feel is necessary to achieve their goals. The student authors of the book have put much effort into their letters as well as making changes in their lives. The IWNDY Team acknowledges their dedication and presents to you the result of their efforts.


Click on the cover page to the right to access your electronic copy.

The IWNDY Campaign Tour

IWNDY Program Details


“The Truth Is”

This session is designed to address the anti-social personality that leads to violent behavior in and out of school. Session 1 is characterized by an introductory poetic performance by Muhibb Dyer and Kwabena Nixon. Following the performance, the students are then asked to do a writing exercise called “the truth is” that encourages the participants to write about the painful events in their lives. This emotionally charged exercise often results in young people shedding a few tears as they begin to identify, for the first time, the true cause of their behavioral issues. In a group setting, the added effect is that it allows students in the same peer group to have sympathy for each other, which in the end can deter future conflict among students that previously were at odds. Students begin to have an epiphany, that the conflicts in school settings that arise amongst themselves are a direct result of the pain in their lives and nothing more. This type of support group environment can build a sense of togetherness born out of the commonality of shared experience.


“Talk to Your Pain”

This session is designed to address one of the primary causes of substance abuse, failed relationships. Session 2 is characterized by a gestalt exercise called “the chair” where the participants are asked with the help of an instructor to role play a conversation with a person that has hurt them deeply. The goal of this exercise is to get the participants to understand that facing their problems brings resolution and avoiding the problem leads to a mentality of escapism characterized by regular drug and alcohol usage. Statistically speaking, students that participate in this type of self-destructive activity have a higher rate of school suspensions and poor attendance in general. The emphasis of this workshop is to get students to realize that their behavior is a direct result of many things that were beyond their control. They may have not had a choice in the traumatic events that shaped their existence but they definitely have a choice in modifying their behavior and that begins with facing their pain and overcoming it.


“Rewrite Your Past”

This session is designed to get the participants to brainstorm ways to overcome the negative influence of growing up in a community of dysfunction. The instructors begin this workshop with a poem entitled The Children are Crying, the story of an African American male that is raised in a single parent home, has problems in school and eventually turns to a life of crime. After listening to this story the students are instructed to take the concept given to them and use their creativity to re-write the ending of the story so that the character overcomes his trials and tribulations. Through this writing exercise, the participants begin to have a paradigm shift as they imagine the possibility of their own success , processing what it would be like to re-write there life story, free of crime and negative influences, and filled with  academic achievement even if they are the first generation in their family to accomplish this. The concluding activity of this session is a poetry competition where the students get a chance to read these stories of transformation before their peer group. The instructors give a monetary incentive to motivate student participation but in the end the ones that take the challenge receive more than that. They ultimately experience what it means to take a positive risk (public speaking) in life and be rewarded with a new found self-esteem and confidence in their ability to write and articulate their deepest desires.  Also many of the “worst students” who in the past inspired by negative peer approval for the first time get a taste of what it feels like to do something positive and receive the applause and appreciation of people.


“Mock Funeral”

This session is designed to address the lack of self-control that lures teenagers away from school and into a life of incarceration and violent death. It is intended to bring to life the old adage, ‘think before you act’. To accomplish this goal the students take a field trip to a local funeral home. They have the chance to speak to a funeral director, view empty caskets with a mirror reflecting their image inside, hear the story of a woman that lost her son to violence and most importantly begin to process ways to avoid a tragic ending in their lives. A highlight of the field trip is that every student is encouraged to make a pledge that they will not die young. The instructors encourage the students to keep their pledge cards with them at all times as a reminder of what truly is at stake(their lives) and that they have a duty to themselves to avoid being a statistic. This exercise affords students an opportunity to bury their old ways and embrace new beginnings.

 

“What do we call them? Before and After”

In this session the students talk about young ladies and their misperceptions of them. The students are taken through exercises where women from the community are invited to share their stories of abuse with the students. In doing so the students are able to put a face on physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The boys empathize with the women and realize that the young ladies that are their peers have suffered through similar circumstances that may have caused negative behavior. They also realize that those young ladies are someone’s daughter, sister or mother. This realization changes how they perceive women and the male students begin to treat females with more respect.

 

“Vision Board”

This session is designed to help students begin to think about a long term plan of action for their lives. The instructors will encourage the student participants to accomplish this goal by first developing a dream list of 50 of their life goals including everything from school to career to personal relationships. After this first step is accomplished the students will be asked to turn their dream list into a power point presentation with pictures and music that represent their life’s aspirations. This dream list is to become the blue print from which they build their lives. Each student is told that they are the architects of their own destiny and in order to achieve in school as well as life they must first know what they want their lives to look like. The exercise concludes with each student showcasing the PowerPoint of their dream list before their class.