Winning the Future by Developing the Future

In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama talked about the U.S. “winning the future.” Through its organizing, direct services, and arts programming, IMAN has always endeavored to provide a holistic model for developing inner-city communities. We realized very early in this work that to do so required a sincere commitment to youth development and leadership cultivation, providing the resources for youth as the future leaders in their communities. At IMAN, we are committed to winning the future by developing the future.

In 2011, we are gearing up for new and exciting youth programming that will focus on arts and culture, media through documentary making, and growing our health and wellness campaign through a series of youth forums. Our monthly youth forums will be the first program to begin and launches on Saturday, February 12. These discussions will center on the overall health & wellness of young people. They will be led by IMAN’s youth council, include exciting performances and guest speakers, and generally provide a place for youth from IMAN’s local base and its broader Muslim following to begin building strong relationships. Each month will address a different topic within the broad subject of youth health and wellness.

The second program will be West African Drumming & Storytelling. This program will allow youth from ages 15 to 21 to explore their artistic side and learn about the culture of drumming while creatively studying the rich heritage of West Africa. Communities thrive when there are avenues for the wisdom of their elders to reach the creativity of their youth. In West African Drumming & Storytelling we will introduce students to the concept and role of the griot, the ardent protector of oral histories in traditional West African cultures.

Lastly, youth between the ages of 14 and 19 who are excited about creating their own media to promote social justice should join us for Media Lab 2.0 starting in June. The media training programs operated in 2009 were incredibly well-received and were expanded to include youth and adults through the One Chicago, One Nation video trainings in 2010. This summer, we’re returning to a youth-centric program that should take students further into the concept of media justice.

IMAN’s youth programming seeks to be reflective of the organization’s overall goals. It is a direct attempt to empower our youth while bridging the gap between them and our elders, allowing IMAN to live out its principle of being intergenerational. If you are interested in any of the three programs above, please do reach out to shamar@imancentral.org.

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