Last week I told you about changes happening in our juvenile justice system and how The Unusual Suspects are part of that change (click HEREif you missed it). In Part 2, I want to introduce you to Jean Carlos, a young man who joined our program last year while he was incarcerated in L.A. County.
We know our work has a significant impact because the kids tell us so —
“This program… it helped me through a lot.When I used to live in the streets, I was taught to have no emotions, and not trust anybody. It was different here. We had that trust, we had that bonding, and it just grew every day. I never really knew that there were people in the world that care about other people, that share their feelings and what they’ve gone through. They’re willing to share their emotions, willing to just love people that are known as criminals.We’re young men, we’re considered criminals, but you guys have the guts to come here and try this out with us without knowing what to expect. You never know what can happen in here. You guys really had a lot of courage, and you passed me a lot of that courage. I just started being more comfortable with those type of feelings around me, and it really felt good to start feeling again. I really thank you guys a lot. This taught me a lot. Like teamwork, I never really worked like that with other people, where we give each other a hand when someone is going through struggles. You taught me so much, thank you. I’ve never really trusted anyone and… We experienced things in the streets, and it’s really hard to go from somebody that you were outside to start trusting, not only yourself, but other people. It’s crazy how this opens up your mind and your heart, and gives you hope for the outside and that there are people who will help you no matter what.”
– Jean Carlos, incarcerated youth 2016
In all of our programs, the students drive the work. The teaching artists are there to guide and mentor but never to censor the stories the kids need to tell. Our current program at Campus Kilpatrick incorporates trauma-informed practices into the curriculum to heal while we help 24 incarcerated young men like Jean Carlos realize a better future for themselves.
We have just 2 weeks left to raise the remaining $7,000 needed to fully fund our program at Campus Kilpatrick. I have seen firsthand how change happens when we work together. Won’t you join us?
Taught over 6 hours a week during in-class & after-school workshops
Aligned with Common Core learning standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies.
Infused with trauma-informed healing practices
Full of activities steeped in ensemble building, collaborative story-making and character development.
Guiding former strangers and adversaries to ultimately create and perform a single play exploring the themes of identity, community and justice.
Made Possible by Collaboration …
Traditionally, services for incarcerated youth exist in silos whereas the L.A. Model has collaboration built into the framework. This has created a strong sense of unity shared amongst all involved. At Kilpatrick, we are training and working alongside L.A. County Probation, Department of Mental Health and L.A. County Office of Education towards a shared goal of setting the young men in our care up for success in life on the outside.
Good intentions are not enough. We have designed a 12-week playwriting & performance residency for the incarcerated young men at Campus Kilpatrick with trauma-informed practices built into the curriculum.
The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company believes every young person deserves to be seen, heard and understood.Through collaborative workshops, we work deeply to empower the hardest to reach communities to tell their stories together leading to self-discovery, a sense of belonging, and the building of stronger families and communities.