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In Focus: Catalyst For Change

IMPACT Family Center and the National Veterans Arts Museum are collaborating on IN FOCUS: A Catalyst for Change, which will expand the connected learning opportunities for youth in communities around Chicago. It will give youth the opportunity to voice their opinions and to express themselves about the social and emotional aspects of violence. Youth from diverse areas of metro Chicago will use digital media, music, art, and theater arts to develop messages for their peers and the community. These messages will be displayed on the Internet, YouTube, social media, and in live community settings. The unique factor of the program is that veterans, law enforcement, and teenagers will dialogue about the violence and ways to decrease it.
Youth will receive hands on experience in the different genres, career exploration,  as well as connection to mentors who will help them with tools to map out their futures.
In Focus evolved out of multiple conversations between IMPACT and NVAM Education regarding narratives of youth living in urban war zones and war veterans. In Focus will activate youth from IMPACT to document stories of peers and veterans alike while connecting them in relevant ways to cultivate and leverage meaningful partnerships across communities. IMPACT and NVAM teens will foster awareness and empowerment of youth voices from under-served communities and build a model for the study and spread of innovative practices for teens inside and on the fringes of the network.This expanded program is the result of a Hive Glimmer grant that explored this issue in 2015, and successfully came up with a plan to duplicate it in other areas of the city in 2016.

searchWWII vet with TC

NVAM programming and Hive partnerships to date have cast a wide net to draw in youth from around the city of Chicago. This proposed collaboration with IMPACT focuses in on a community not yet accessed through current NVAM programming and activates learning opportunities for youth in high-violence neighborhoods. It also fosters new, sustainable and impactful relationships between NVAM Teen Council members and IMPACT teens, nurturing a youth-facing, peer-to-peer community across the Network.


IMPACT has a 10-year record of accomplishment using digital media and desktop publishing to create connected learning opportunities for teens in Chicago’s Greater Roseland community. The program has produced nearly 800 youth who have progressed through the digital media program acquiring skills that have proven to be instrumental in improved grades and test scores, acquiring summer jobs, entrance into colleges and careers that involve communications, technology and digital media. Each year, youth expand their creativity and foster relationships with other organizations to cover a variety of topics and controversial issues that affect their community, which strengthens their voice. Veterans in the IMPACT community as well as communities served by NVAM have expressed interest in sharing narratives and interacting with youth. Interactions between teens and veterans will be documented using digital media. Artwork and written reflection will be showcased and shared out into learning networks through the NVAM Out Loud blog and the Hive working-in-the-open learning framework. The NVAM will provide project oversight in regards to organizing the workshops, interacting with IMPACT and coordinating events. Events include both on and off-site workshops (in the Roseland/Pullman neighborhoods), organizing the showcase of documented projects (both in progress and final products) on the NVAM Out Loud website, guiding field trips, and facilitating meetings with partner organizations to implement and conduct evaluations. IMPACT will provide space for weekly youth programming and commit to bringing youth to the NVAM to participate in art making workshops on the second Saturday of each month. IMPACT and the NVAM will commit to meeting bi-monthly to evaluate and establish best practices for implementing the programs as described in the proposal.


We are grateful to the MacArthur, Hive Chicago, and the Chicago Community Trust for your investment in the lives of our youth.

Lead Organization:
IMPACT Family Center

Partner Organizations:

Project Goal:
Teens from both organizations will participate in the 2nd Saturday art workshops hosted by the NVAM. Teens will meet with veteran collaborators at the workshops and begin dialogue revolving around the concept of violence and the role of personal narratives in creating art in response to our unique stories. Programming will continue at both sites throughout the summer including site visits by teens, veteran interviews and ongoing workshops that foster open dialogue and creative outlets for expression through art making. Youth and veterans alike will utilize the NVAM Out Loud website to document their interactions using connected learning strategies and digital technologies to share their on-going work with the Network and the community at large. Digital technologies to be used include internet-based research, video and sound equipment, data collection, and uploading new information to a digital learning site. Programming will culminate with a showcase of work at the NVAM

Project Tags:
2015 Round 1 RFP, Youth Voice