Jade Wilkerson *
Chicago, IL - Enlace, Lawndale Community Church
Lawndale Community Church:
In a gang-infested area of Chicago, IL, Lawndale Community Church conducts various enrichment programs for high at-risk and underprivileged middle and high school youth. In need of a dance instructor, the church supported me as I executed two hip hop dance workshops for minority youth from Lawndale. From the workshops, these youth later performed their routines for the community and starred in a Christian hip hop video shoot through the church. Coming from urban, deteriorated neighborhoods, these children don’t receive the extracurricular activities that fortunate kids have. Dancing gave the Lawndale youth not only a way to keep away from trouble, but also a means of expression.
Through Enlace Chicago of IL, I mentored and conducted two hip hop dance camps with high at-risk and underprivileged youth in a Mexican populated community known as Little Village. Enlace Chicago serves in an area marked by extreme gang violence, and it does so through community outreach, violence prevention, and economic development programs. However, it’s lacking in youth enrichment programs, especially ones suited for girls. For that reason, my hip hop dance camp reached out to the middle and high school Latino girls. It focused on the history of hip hop and how it related to Little Village, as well as a way to use hip hop as a platform for change.
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