healing justice and community care
According to Cara Page and the Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective "Healing Justice is a framework that identifies how we can holistically respond to and intervene on generational trauma and violence and to bring collective practices that can impact and transform the consequences of oppression on our bodies, hearts and minds." The spaces we create through Kids Create Change are informed by healing justice practices which means our programs are trauma-informed and our social justice work addresses mental health, wellness through self- and community care. We apply the knowledge and skills we have gained through our education, training and work in art therapy and counseling to these spaces. We challenge western approaches to wellness as the only path, and find value in healing practices informed by various forms of cultural and indigenous wisdom and tradition. We believe that healing is necessary to social justice work, and the act of care in all forms are acts of resilience and change.
Through a partnership with Connections for the Homeless Kids Create Change constructed carefully curated free 'shops' at the location where many families were housed during the first 6 months of the pandemic. The shop gave kids and families the opportunity to access books, toys, games, puzzles and art materials to utilize while sheltering in place.
community projects, collaborations and initiatives
Kids Create Change develops art-based community projects that engage all members in collective change making. We utilize storytelling, art making and creative collaboration to promote dialogue and shared experiences in the community. We promote kindness, empathy, and multiple forms of communication as a way to be inclusive of the youngest members of our community, and facilitate experiences where all are invited to build connections and engage in conversations that promote change.
We believe our partnerships with neighborhood schools, community organizations, local businesses, grassroots initiatives, and individual members of the community are essential to this work. These collaborations take the form of programs, workshops, exhibitions, and events that focus on young people creating art for self-expression, relationship-building, community connection, and social change.
See below for examples of our work in the community.
We participated in YKNA's Community Peace Offering which is part of the Peace Studio’s 100 Offerings of Peace Project along with artists from around the world to create original works that reflect on peace. The offerings were floated on Evanston's North Channel toward the lake on Oct. 4, 2020.
Through our Access Art Initiative we collaborated with D65, Family Focus, Connections for the Homeless, Y.O.U., Evanston Made, Art Makers Outpost and the Books and Breakfast program to provide free art kits to kids and families with limited access to art materials during the summer months of the pandemic. We assembled and distributed over 1,000 free kits with support from Northwestern University and individual donations.
We partnered with Connections for the Homeless to create family activity centers at two interim housing shelters in downtown Evanston during the. These centers provided a space for residents to choose from a selection of art materials, books, and toys in an informal setting that included space to gather and play. These centers were curated and restocked weekly in order to supply families with activities, and to be an extension of care and fun during this difficult transition.
We are committed to collaborations with local organizations and to provide programming that is antiracist, trauma-informed and centers the emotional needs of children in this time. We do this by creating a space for children to tell their own stories and engage in meaningful art making. This summer 2020, Kids Create Change provided art materials and co-lead weekly virtual workshops for children ages 8-13 at Family Focus.
Video produced by Harrison Tremarello at the Daily Northwestern about the 2020 Year of Kindness and Nonviolent Action Evanston Initiative Kick-Off
Article written by Jennifer Zahn at the Daily Northwestern about the 2020 Year of Kindness and Nonviolent Action Evanston Initiative Kick-Off
Article written by Nina Kavin of Dear Evanston about the 2020 Year of Kindness and Nonviolent Action Initiative in Evanston
The Kindness in Action City-Wide Art Project was part of the 2020 Year of Kindness and Nonviolent Action Initiative in Evanston. Kids Create Change hosted a community art workshop at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center with over 175 participants and at Y.O.U. with 15 high school participants.
The Kindness in Action City-Wide Art Project debuted at the 2020 Year of Kindness and Nonviolent Action Initiative Kick-Off Event in January. Over 175 members of the community of all ages and backgrounds made art together and engaged in conversation about kindness in the community.
Flyer for the 2020 Year of Kindness and Nonviolent Action Evanston Initiative Kick-Off Event
Kids Create Change hosted a community sculpture workshop during the 2019 annual Evanston Made Kids family art event at the Evanston Art Center. The community sculpture originated at Gather in 2018 and has been traveling to various locations and events throughout the city!