SEARCH- Light: Lessons from Youth, Art and Healing in Chicago

Praxis Institute
4 min readAug 8, 2022


“The world would be a paradise of peace and justice if global citizens shared a common definition of love which would guide our thoughts and action.”

- Bell Hooks

Week 5

Understanding & Magnifying Others

We are going through some strange and dark times. Every day our phones are flooded with notifications filled with injustice and hatred reflecting the unpredictable and tumultuous times we are living. For many of us, these injustices and challenges feel impossible to solve. This can lead to cynicism and we don’t want that. The fifth week focused on taking action to improve the well-being of all of the different communities we are a part of. For five weeks Fellows have developed the tools to self-explore and collectively heal. We always start with understanding and magnifying self and by the end the focus shifts to understanding and magnifying others and life itself. We are opening an opportunity for our SEARCH youth fellows to take action in what they deem important. Activities facilitated this week include a Create a Campaign, Healing Reflection and Recording, Open Studio.

“[I have enjoyed] watching everyone’s process in completing what they are excited about presenting during the showcase and taking ownership of their art. Some folks are really in it, some are pacing through and paying attention to detail.” SEARCH Facilitator

Healing Circle Reflection

This week we reflected on the healing circles we engaged in during our time together by asking youth to answer prompts in their journal and to audio record their responses.

“I really liked reflecting on what healing is. I remember the same question was asked in the beginning of the summer and my answer was more technical. Now my answer is reflective of myself. Because before I tried to think about how a dictionary would define healing, now I ask myself how do I define healing.” SEARCH Youth Fellow

These are the questions we asked:

  1. What does freedom look, feel and sound like?
  2. What world would you create?
  3. How can my gifts contribute to a more humane and caring society/world?
  4. What does healing look, sound and feel like?

“Healing to me looks like a time-lapse of a plant growing because in a sense, both things are adapting to the environment and growing with the help of useful resources into something wonderful and beautiful. Healing feels like a life long hug, a feeling of finally making peace with what opened the wound. Healing sounds like a lullaby a mother would sing to their crying child to help calm them down and make them feel secure.”SEARCH Youth Fellow

SEARCH youth fellows were also asked to audio record their responses. The audio recordings will be part of our art exhibition.

Week 5 Reflection from Youth Participants

At the end of each week we ask all youth participants 3 simple questions:

  1. What did you enjoy most about the week?
  2. What are 1–2 things we can do to improve your experience?
  3. What was the most important thing you learned this week?

SEARCH youth fellows enjoyed Open Studio and Create a Campaign this week…

“I’ve really been enjoying how this week has mostly been studio time. It’s very relaxing because I really like drawing.”

“I really enjoyed open studio because I had the time to finish all of my art pieces. There was a point where I had 3 unfinished projects and this week I was able to finish all of them.”

“I always thought it didn’t have meaning and it was just something to look at, well at least with my art. This week I learned that art is activism, it’s sharing what you believe through a visual medium.”

“My favorite activity this week was creating my own campaign. I was able to narrow down which cause was the most important to me, and helped me fortify my identity in a way.”

“In our table we were going around sharing our causes, and there were good conversations that came from that. [We] were able to hear different perspectives, be more compassionate and learn about different causes.”

Sample Activity: Create a Campaign

We asked our SEARCH youth fellows the issues they are most passionate about and to then create a poster. This activity allows our youth fellows to creatively have a voice in standing up and taking action in their own way.

The Injustice of Justice

“I had a hard time looking up 1 cause most interesting to me, so I put everything that I believed in and that was important to me on one poster.” SEARCH Youth Fellow

Next Steps

SEARCH youth fellows will be hosting a final art exhibition. Come through!

If you are interested in receiving the step-by-step instructions for any other activities or have additional questions about the why, what and or how of SEARCH please reach out to



Praxis Institute

Praxis integrates theory and practice to engage, empower, and embolden communities to be agents in the creation of their individual and collective wellbeing.