SEARCH-LIGHT: Lessons We’re Learning From Youth, Art & Healing in Chicago.


  1. Understand the types of youth development approaches that work best and which do not
  2. Celebrate and Replicate our successes
  3. Share reflections, approaches & lesson plans with other practitioners and organizations doing this work.
  • Relationship & Community Building
  • Identity & Culture
  • Narrative Change
  • Creativity & Innovation
  • Healing & Transformation
  • Lead a Healing Circle
  • Create their own art portfolio
  • SEARCH will curate an art gallery exhibition open to the public
  • Welcome & Opening Ritual: Sets the tone of the day. Participants are tuning into the space we are going to create together.
  • Introductions & intentions
  • Develop a short engaging moment connected to the theme to grab the interest and attention of participants.
  • Activate prior knowledge with a check-in prompt related to the day’s theme
  • Structured 1:1 and group conversations to facilitate connections
  • A prompt or question connected to the day's theme is presented to the group to safely express their personal narratives
  • Participants divide into small groups of 2 or 3 and respond to the prompt. Participants take turns sharing out for 2–3 minutes each.
  • Group gets back together for collective conversations
  • An additional prompt is presented. Participants get back into small groups with 4–5 minutes to share out in order to build our capacity for meaning-making through internal reflective practice.
  • Participants are often working individually to create their piece.
  • After being so verbal the arts activity gives participants space to express what’s inside them and how they process the world around them.
  • Participants can choose to share their artistic expression to the larger group verbally or non-verbally.
  • Closes out the activity
  • Can involve some type of meditation or mindfulness activity
  • Closing ritual to honor the space we created together and prepare to transition back into our lives
  1. Distribute poem templates and markers/pens to each student.
  2. Explain the purpose of the activity (see paragraph above)
  3. Have participants fill in the sentences on the template with the appropriate descriptors. Make sure participants understand what all of the prompts mean.
  4. We strongly recommend all facilitators first share out their personal poems to model the activity.
  5. After 10–15 minutes, participants can present their poems to the group.



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Praxis Institute

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.