9.20.2016 (Tampa, FL) Many young people lack the resources and guidance needed to achieve their maximum potential. Especially at-risk youth that are in the system of care within the State. Take James (age 16), for example, a young Tampa resident, who lives day-to-day with the heavy burden of a challenging speech impediment, now finding an opportunity to grow and express himself through The Motivational Edge’s Lyrical Expression and Urban Arts programs in Tampa.
“The program has improved my confidence in speaking a lot!” James tells Dawyen Sekajipo, creator and director of The Art Lyrical Expression and Urban Arts program. By connecting with James through the genres of Rap and Hip-Hop, he now enjoys writing because he “can make words rhyme”. These tools are not only improving his speech, but are ultimately giving him, and other youth, a chance at a successful future.
Sekajipo, who sees great amounts of untapped potential in all of his students, can see the changes as well. “All these things are taking place when we’re in the creative writing experience,” he explains. James is a walking testament to the power of The Motivational Edge’s programs, which offer a safe place for youth to come together and co-create, while also achieving academic excellence.
The Motivational Edge (ME), a Miami-based nonprofit, was recently introduced by DCF to Tampa youth agencies, in an effort to expand and incorporate programming at various Central Florida locations.
“In June 2016, Motivational Edge came to a provider meeting in which they brought youth they had worked with and did presentations that were heartfelt and really showed the impact they had made on these youth in such a short span of time,” explains Evan Leach, Regional Licensing Manager for the Department of Children and Families Suncoast Region Family and Community Services.
Youth in the Tampa area are participating in The Art of Lyrical Expression and Urban Arts program at the following locations, with more to come: Loving Children Group Home, Children’s Home International (CHI) and Lake Magdalene Group Homes, through the Hillsboro County Department of Children Services.
The Motivational Edge began in Miami, in 2008, when founder Ian Welsch saw a need for a more constructive, engaging environment in after school programs. “It’s very important for us that academics are held in prominence, while utilizing the arts as a motivational tool,” Welsch said in a speech following the proclamation of The Motivational Edge Day in Miami by Mayor Thomas Regalado on July 29.
With this core concept, ME was launched to inspire youth using the culturally relevant arts as a motivational platform. Fast forward eight years and the program has expanded statewide while impacting and uplifting thousands of young people, helping many at-risk youth conceptualize life goals and take action towards reaching them.
About The Motivational Edge
The Motivational Edge is a 501(c)(3) youth development agency that uses culturally relevant arts as a motivational platform to inspire youth toward academic achievement, increased self-confidence and the building of essential life skills. Using the arts as a motivational and learning platform, ME impels students who are underachieving toward desperately needed academic instruction. The youth currently served by The Motivational Edge are walking testaments that the arts are an extremely powerful learning and healing tool. www.TheMotivationalEdge.org.