CityKids rides youth culture. We see what is needed and are responsive. We are the pioneers of fundamental principles like SafeSpace/BraveSpace and social intelligence that propel our programs and collaborations.
The Problems we are Tackling Today
At CityKids we know that pain is a cross-cultural- every adolescent is "at-risk".
Our work is to create a multi-cultural constituency across socio-economic barriers and to teach each other's languages and youth leadership skills. Our mission is for young people to find and strengthen their individual and collective voices, develop the tools to positively impact their lives, and become leaders and motivated agents of social change.
The result is a family being born and they move on the world together to create change.
Photo by Jane Feldman
East Village Playhouse
The CityKids Foundation launched its home-base, the East Village Playhouse, in 2017. This is where we continue our in-person, grassroots work with the youth. It is their home for Artivism; workshops; CityKids TED talk training; anti-bullying panels and presentations; music healing percussion and drum circle events; youth suicide prevention workshops; and open mics all aiming at one thing: Self-Empowerment through Creativity in Expression.
The East Village Playhouse also provides a home to culturally relevant plays and musicals produced and performed by local artists.
Armed with Music, Message, and Voice
CityKids has partnered with CK Music Director DJ Cherish to assemble a cadre of 52 girls and gender-expansive from every state and territory across the U.S. who will be their state leaders and will teach/mentor others in what they have learned. State leaders will arm them as creative DJs and message leaders.
Girls and gender-expansive from ages 9-13 and 14-18 are trained in a four-week Creative Leadership Artivist Boot Camp with DJ Cherish.
Alongside their training, they create ongoing projects that broadcast every Friday on TikTok. This is a one-minute TikTok blast targeting "stop the hate and find the peace”. Their mission is to blitz social media with pure positivity.
With violence at an all-time high, now more than ever we need our youth to rise up and creatively remind everyone to put love and understanding over fear and hate.
During the pandemic, The CityKids Foundation was forced to pause our in-person work at The East Village Playhouse. By forming a partnership with A Better Life Foundation, our work continues virtually. Joining forces through Sharpen Up, ABLF and CityKids are not only cultivating a SafeSpace/BraveSpace to learn and create, but this partnership gives young people crucial tools to live by.
Sharpen Up is a three-part online culinary education workshop that focuses on kids living within the BIPOC, AAIP, and LGBTQIA communities that ABLF serves across the country to teach basic cooking techniques and healthy eating habits.
Sharpen Up features group and one-on-one training sessions. Three grocery deliveries of ingredients are used for recipes throughout the program that are tailored to allergies, cultural sensitives, preferences, and seasonal availability. In less than a year, Sharpen UP has become essential to food literacy for youth development and will continue long after we conquer Covid-19.
The Geo 2030 Bamboo Ark and Vela Mola Sail
Photos: Lucie Machin
In partnership with Geoversity, CityKids has produced a one-of-a-kind Vela Mola Sail for the gathering of COP 26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference that took place in Glasgow, November 2021.
The GEO 2030 BAMBOO ARK is a global campaign for biocultural leadership and living design for sustainability in harmony with nature. Leading the charge to COP 26 were Indigenous Guna leaders from Panama Iniquilipi Chiari and Agar Iklenia Tejada who powerfully invoked a message to the community in Glosgow to “join us in growing the skills and the network of empowered activists we need to survive and create the world we want.”
Under Agar's leadership, 37 women have handsewn the largest “mola” ever created (a traditional cloth appliqué unique to the Guna people) to trailblaze COP26. The Mola Sail is a 40 square meter rendering of the Bamboo Ark’s sail as a mola made by women from GunaYala, one of the three autonomous territories in Panama of the Guna people, with densely- populated island communities imperiled by a rising sea. “For me” explains Agar, “the Mola Sail represents the origin of my people’s identity as a Guna nation. It symbolizes our deep caring of our Mother the Earth with its honoring of the sky, sun, water, earth and of all living beings. It’s the sail that unites us and moves us forward in our fight for the forests, rivers and oceans of our Mother.”