Some of the artwork from our workshops. Thank you for your participation, students!
The final week of Summer Skillz has passed us by. As a whole, it was great to celebrate the fact that this group of teens have finished their final week of a program comprised of many different organizations (Day One, Lake Avenue Church, to name a couple) circling around them to help them achieve and aspire to something greater in education. The element Oasis was closely linked with is the life skills classes, through which we taught high schoolers about human trafficking.
What struck me most during that final week of Summer Skillz is the idea of encircling. The implications of encircling, or circling around something, sum up what we were conveying and exploring with these teens. Encircling implies a coming together, a binding, an unbroken line. Life and communities can often be fragmented, but we worked to show the teens that they can play an integral part in a community that stands against human trafficking.
The high schoolers thought Summer Skillz was all about older community members acting instead of them, but these young people have eyes and ears in their families, neighborhoods, schools, hangout spots, and anywhere else that offer a unique perspective on their communities. The awareness that trafficking, whether sex or labor, is a potential reality in the home space of their community got the wheels turning. Many were shocked by some of the statistics and stories shared. We hope that their engagement in dialogue and creating statements against human trafficking through creative outlets has sparked within them a realization that they, too, have something desperately important to give to their community. It was perhaps the most amazing development from our involvement in Summer Skillz.
If you have young people in your life, I encourage you to share the issue of trafficking with them. Youth are a vulnerable population in terms of trafficking, but they also form a piece of the circle of community that we at Oasis seek to form in every neighborhood. We must bind together to form a greater whole.