Living in Cincinnati, we’ve all experienced over the past few weeks how music can uplift and transform us. It can bring out talents and inspire dreams.
Those magical abilities of young people, many of whom never even knew they had it within themselves to create, are the mortar for an Over-the-Rhine nonprofit whose sole purpose is to nurture strengths through hip hop arts.
Elementz sparks the flame
The origins for Elementz trace back to 2005 when community leaders began an outreach effort to give Cincinnati’s urban teens a safe place to hang out after school. It didn’t take long for them to realize the huge untapped potential in young minds with imagination and passion.
Today, in its new building at 1100 Race Street, over 320 aspiring artists ages 14 to 24, are building their confidence, becoming leaders and collaborators, learning about pushing their comfort zone as they perform new hip hop dance moves before live audiences, honing communication skills through writing and performing rap; and using their creativity to paint graffiti, and shoot videos and photos.
One of the great things about nurturing a young person’s strengths is that that energy tends to ebb into so many other aspects of that person’s life. Since coming to the nonprofit Elementz studio, a number of youth have attained their GED’s and are either enrolled in or are preparing for college.
Executive Director Tom Kent told me, “The bottom line is – every youth has gifts. Sometimes they don’t realize that those gifts are and so we are on a mission to help them figure that out.”
Elementz Spring 2012 Video Newsletter