Word is Out on Youth Homelessness

August 9th, 2011

Founding Board Member, Mireya Trejo summarized for Fear No Art Chicago how her organization, One Heart One Soul, is getting the word out about youth homelessness through gallery art and spoken word:

With Chicago summers being the most unsafe and homeless youth having minimal options to positively involve themselves, came the birth of “Unspoken Words, a voice for homeless youth.”

Unspoken Words is a platform for homeless youth to speak out & raise awareness on the issue of their own homelessness. Chicago alone has over 2,800 homeless youth sleeping on streets, in shelters, or sofa surfing. The board reached out to Teen Living Programs, a shelter in Bronzeville that is a home for homeless youth, in an effort to provide this art program to their residents. They’ve met at this location from Saturday June 25, 2011 and every Saturday since leading the youth in Urban Art, Photography, Dance, and Spoken Word. Each class has been led by a volunteer teacher of that industry.

In order to raise awareness, the artwork created by the youth of Unspoken Words has been displayed in businesses such as Metropolis Café and Chef Luciano restaurant – both have been great supporters of this program. Trejo is grateful for the dedicated teachers, performers, and donors – Carl Kuck (urban artist), Robert Morris University who lent our youth cameras, Professor Robert K. and students who led in photography, Unspoken (spoken word), Norma Jean (dance), and Marco the Poet (spoken word & book publishing knowledge).

With support received from Bronzeville Chamber of Commerce, Robert Morris University, and the Willis Tower, Trejo sees this program spreading to other Chicago communities.  She says, “Help from many brings hope to all.” It’s amazing the type of relationships we have built and the amount of talent that is hidden within the four walls of Teen Living Programs. There are  youth participants like AJ and Kasey who are eager to speak out and share their artistic renditions on life.”

Opening night of the next Unspoken Words exhibition is at The Firecat Projects Gallery, 2124 N. Damen Ave., Saturday August 27th, 7:00pm – 10:00pm. The Firecat Projects have graciously opened their doors, not just to display the work, but to create an exhibit. Unspoken Words will be showing Sat. August 27 – Saturday, September 3, 2011.

For more info on One Heart One Soul or Unspoken Words please email 1heart.onesoul@gmail.com. Find them on Facebook.

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