After surviving the bridge collapse, my teenage dream of opening a youth center came into unquestioned focus. In 2013, along with a group of high schoolers who believed in my vision, I founded Courageous heARTS.
Courageous heARTS closed permanently in September 2020, a victim of the coronavirus pandemic. Though it was sad to say goodbye, I firmly believe that all our hard work softened the soil for future iterations of our space. Just like anything good in life, heARTS was one of the best and hardest things I have ever done. I carry so many of the lessons I learned about creativity, community building and courage with me into each new moment of my life.
A Little More About heARTS
Courageous heARTS’ was more than an art studio, it was a community space driven by a variety of evidence-based practices. Our trauma-informed and people-centered approaches were at the heart of everything that happened at the studio. heARTS' mission was to illuminate youth as leaders while inspiring creativity, courage, and collaboration throughout the whole community. The following beliefs guided our work in the three areas of service:
Youth Leadership: We believe young people have a right to participate in and make decisions about the spaces they occupy. We also believe that leadership takes many different forms. We create opportunities for youth to practice the multitude of ways they can lead themselves and their community.
Creativity: We believe art is a powerful tool for expression, restoration and transformation - both individually and collectively. We serve as a safety net for creativity, by valuing the process of art-making and invite everyone to explore and experiment with the tools available at our studio.
Connection: We believe that community is a precious resource. Our space thrives on the idea that connection and belonging is essential to personal and societal well-being. We embrace uniqueness as strength and encourage everyone to bring their whole self to the table.