In a collaboration made possible by the Perrin Family Foundation between Solar Youth, hip hop poet and playwright Aaron Jafferis, film production organization Hallah Edutainment and the Citywide Youth Coalition, Solar Youth teenage Interns recently embarked on a special poetry-writing and documentary-making project that will culminate with the screening of an Intern-produced video at Solar Youth’s spring Public Education Forum on May 22nd.

At the first session on February 17th, Solar Youth Interns and Educators participated in a writing and forum theater workshop, facilitated by Aaron and Solar Youth Educator Josh, to create insightful poetry and actions that portrayed important problems in their communities. This exercise provided an outlet for Interns to articulate and share their experiences candidly and creatively while feeling comfortable, confident, and empowered. Almost everyone shared their unique poem or rap, each of which communicated a deep sense of emotion surrounding community challenges that are otherwise difficult to talk about. We are so proud of our Interns!

Hashim Allah of Hallah Edutainment recorded audio and video of this process, and spoke with Interns David and Danny, who will help Hashim lead the ongoing recording, editing, and final production of the video.

Aaron and Hashim are activists and work extensively with youth development initiatives throughout New Haven. Aaron has led and facilitated hip-hop theater/poetry initiatives with various youth programs since 1996.  Hashim is a poet and founder of Hallah Edutainment, a youth development organization that offers several unique programs to urban youth including hip hop literacy, theatre, expressive broadcasting, and environmental education.

In addition to the screening at the season-end Public Education Forum, Interns will deliver a workshop at the Citywide Youth Coalition’s 2014 Youth Summit in mid-April to share resources and experiences with their peers.

We want to thank everyone involved for their support in making this unique project possible for our Interns!

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