Staying Power & Staying Home: Empowering Youth Artists Activists

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
38 Donors
days left
Project ends on December 31, at 11:59 PM EST
Project Owners

Support Youth Artist Activists in Staying Power & Staying Home!

Who We Are & What We Do 

Staying Power is a youth-driven movement for housing justice and belonging through arts advocacy. Over the last three years, we have built a core team of young leaders in Ypsilanti and have just selected 10 more local teens to join the cast for our annual poetry-theater production. We will also host monthly poetry workshops and open mics open to all youth in Washtenaw County (ages 14-22). In this coming year, the core group of young leaders will meet with community organizers to learn about the political landscape of Washtenaw County and how they can use their art to radically re-imagine a more just future. Through elder interviews, memory-mapping, a visiting artist series, a youth-driven podcast, a published anthology of their writing and a culminating live performance, young leaders will capture the stories of our community and archive Black, Indigenous and Latinx history, culture and art in Washtenaw County. Staying Power centers BIPOC youth and youth who have directly experienced housing insecurity.

Staying Home is a youth-driven movement for disability/economic justice that grew out of lessons learned from the Covid shutdown that innovative virtual spaces can create a healing and justice-centered environment for those who experience chronic illness, for those who identify as disabled in either physical or mental health issues, for those who don’t have easy access to transportation and for those who may have home responsibilities that don’t allow them access to the many in-person youth programs in Washtenaw County.  Staying Home provides weekly “poetry and creativity playground” sessions for youth aged 14 - 17 and 18 - 22 that center Washtenaw County youth, but is also open to youth around the country and is actively building partnerships with healing and poetry centers elsewhere.  Staying Home will also host a virtual Visiting Artists series, bringing in renowned poets and other artists for both Staying Home and Staying Power youth, as well as collaboration with Staying Power via the published anthology and as support in other ways for the youth of Staying Power.  Staying Home also provides a home to interested Staying Power youth where each artist can purely focus on their writing and craft.

Why We Need Your Support

Youth Empowerment and Equity: 

While young adults are often exploited and expected to do free labor, we are raising funds to ensure Staying Power/Staying Home staff are paid an equitable hourly rate for their powerful, transformative work so they can sustain themselves financially. This is a model that works from a lens of abundance and equity rather than scarcity. 

  • We have created a youth leadership pipeline where the most committed young people in the program are hired onto the artistic team as Staying Power Facilitators after they’ve been involved for a few years. This honors a youth-driven model where alumni are the true visionaries and leaders shaping the program. 
  • We would also like to pay stipends for Staying Power cast members upon completion of the production.

Artistic Development & Support: 

In order to produce an equally powerful, high quality show in June 2022, we need support to cover the cost of theater rental, lighting, sound, set design, costumes, promotional materials, etc., and people power- we want to hire an amazing tech crew of local youth! 

  • We are raising funds to bring in a powerful slate of visiting poets through Staying Home, open to youth from Washtenaw County and beyond. 
  • Our biggest Staying Power cost besides personnel is our annual production. Our last show at Ypsi High pulled in a sold out audience of 500+ people.

We have partnered with Grove Studios to produce a biweekly youth-driven podcast uplifting local leaders. There are many competitors for the attention of our youth audience, among them billion dollar corporate and social-media marketing campaigns. 

  • The costs of producing a technical quality that honors the youths’ effort are relatively small but sorely needed to reasonably compete. We are raising funds to continue producing our podcast at Grove Studios.

We are working in collaboration with local historians to create an interactive digital map archiving Black history of Washtenaw County and a website to house this map along with the podcast episodes and a database of local Black and immigrant-owned businesses. 

  • We’re raising funds to cover the costs of software and pay local historians and a web designer for their support. We’re also raising funds to publish an anthology that will combine work from both the Staying Power and Staying Home youth with a focus on housing justice issues. 

Health, Accessibility & Food Justice:

Staying Power youth meet weekly during the typical dinner time and have voiced a desire for nutritious, hearty meals rather than junk food and snacks that don’t provide sustenance. 

  • We are raising funds for a weekly grocery budget that will enable to share fellowship and cook nutritious meals before weekly meetings.

Most of the young people in Staying Power don’t have cars or rides to get to programming, so they end up bussing and walking alone in the dark which creates a serious safety concern. 

  • We are raising funds to cover transportation costs and gas money for staff who drive young people to and from programming. 

We provide innovative virtual spaces for those in the Staying Home local group who can stay safe and set via their own needs, and help them to build a social, support and artistic network, locally and beyond. 

  • We need to raise funds for work with a variety of safe platforms as well as community outreach via our linked website.

Group of teenagers all wearing the same staying power shirt stand together outside in a line in front of a colorful street mural.


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