Rural Youth Create Art for Change

Rural and Migrant Ministry, based in New York’s rural Ulster County, acts to overcome the prejudices and poverty that degrade and debilitate all members of our society by building communities that celebrate diversity and offer dignity and opportunity to all. RMM is an interfaith organization whose members believe that inspiration comes from participation in the creation of a just world.

A recipient of the 2010 Harry Chapin Self-Reliance Award, RMM used the award to support their Youth Arts Group (YAG) take youth on tours of colleges and teach them how to write resumes, go on job interviews, and apply to college.

The Youth Arts Group involves high school-aged, at-risk youth in art projects that create change in their communities. Instead of another night in front of the television or engaging in unhealthy behaviors, youth participants spend their Friday nights making documentaries, spoken word projects, and murals to give themselves and other rural New Yorkers a voice, with an emphasis on the rights of farmworkers. They also learn public speaking skills and are actively involved in human rights lobbying.

As one youth participant put it: “I believe that youth empowerment is when young people come together with the determination to create positive change in their community. Like YAG – we come together to advocate for farmworkers and we use art to make social change.”

Watch the video below to see what the youth have to say for themselves:

Candice Comisi