Mental health program empowers youth to express themselves

June 28, 2023 | Stories

Many teens struggle with mental health issues that impact their learning, friendships, decision making and health. To provide a positive outlet for youth to tackle challenges, Destination Innovation launched Word to Life in March.

The three-month program, supported by the CLASS of Wichita, Inc. Fund at the Wichita Foundation, fosters an environment for teens ages 13 to 18 to communicate their emotions effectively through music and spoken word. 

Facilitating the workshop are two local creatives familiar with finding power in words: spoken word artist Desmond Bryant-White and hip-hop artist Samuel Thompson.

"A person would really have to be a fly on the wall to hear some of the authentic talking points, conversation and topics that our youth face on a daily basis," said Bryant-White. "Having a space to process the trauma they may be experiencing is vital in the growth and development of a young person."

Since the unveiling of Word to Life, the program was piloted at four Wichita Public Schools. More than 60 students were introduced to healthy conflict-resolution methods, coping skills and self-care through the power of words.

"I believe this program is a perfect example of how art can create change in our communities," said Bryant-White.

Students participating in a Word to Life workshop (Photo credit: Destination Innovation)

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