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During the height of the pandemic, we closed our Youth Center and moved our programming online. 

Engaging our young artists on social media and Instagram opened up a world of new opportunities for connection, collaboration, creativity, and employment. This page is a small window into our life together while sheltering in place.


Our online community was a lifeline of friendship, stability, and hope for youth who were struggling to understand the rapidly changing world they found themselves in and their own place within it.


We listened to these beautiful people, held the questions with them, and tried to be worthy of their trust and friendship. 

Art & Conversation

Staff and youth leaders hosted the following weekday events via Instagram Live. Our youth community joined in to chat, share their music, and engage in important conversation about art, culture, and life. 


Programming adjusted from week to week based on youth interests and input.




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Friday Performances

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Creative Challenges

Creative challenges, posted by staff and youth, offer a platform for young people to voice what's on their minds and share their art with the community on a variety of relevant themes, for example: what they carry, who they miss, what they're thankful for, or a significant song that has impacted them.


In the "Still I Rise" Challenge, youth downloaded a beat and sent videos with a "clean 16 bars" of music on the theme of overcoming. 

In the "I Carry" Challenge, they texted and emailed poems on the topic.

"I Carry" by Roderick
"I Carry" by Clinton
"I Carry" by adae510

 by adae510

"I Carry" by Audrey

Question of the Day

Youth interns jump start conversations online and help to keep peers connected.

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Upstar TV

Upstar TV was launched by youth who wrote grants and raised $10,000 to fund the program in 2019. Youth leaders host Q&As to talk to our community artists, musicians, and leaders about what they're creating while sheltering in place and what's inspiring them. To see other Upstar Episodes, check out our YouTube channel here.

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