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A Faith in the Valley summer camp student shows off her project.

Kids and Communities Thrive in our Arts, Climate and Music Summer Programs

In an effort to give our youth more opportunities to learn about the arts and climate change, we launched a summer camp with Fresno Housing and other community partners.

During the six week program, we have been working with 20 campers—ranging in age from 5 to 22—to expose them to climate issues such as air quality inequity, environmental toxins and our fragile ecosystem. Campers are also learning about community organizing.

“One of the things that has been most fascinating is watching the kids take something that they are passionate about and understand, like the video game ‘Among Us,’ and applying it to what they are learning about climate justice,” said lead organizer Marcel Woodruff.

The first part of the camp involves mapping our world as it is: full of environmental hazards and climate injustice. The second part will enable them to imagine the world as it should be: free from pollution and toxins, with a balanced and thriving ecosystem.

An interactive showcase in early August will offer the community a chance to see projects that highlight learnings featuring youth-designed art, music, photography, videography and technology components.

Over in Stockton, we are also co-hosting a youth and community-centered program with MorganJ Productions, Advance Peace and other community-based violence intervention programs. The program, called “Music In The Park Safe Summer Sessions,” is creating safe spaces for fun and relationship-building in communities vulnerable to violence.

After the first session in the Kentfield neighborhood in June, lead organizer Toni McNeil said she saw Black and Brown residents of all ages from the neighborhood showing up and enjoying themselves.

“What we heard from them was that they were tired of their community only being known for violence—that people don’t see the good that exists there,” McNeil said. “It was an opportunity to show city officials a different perspective on what their community looks like.”

To learn more, contact Marcel Woodruff at [email protected] or Toni McNeil at [email protected].

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