Circle the Young with Love and Support

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$26,135

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Stand Together. Stand Strong.

Our logo derives from the ancient West African adinkra symbol, adinkrahene, the Chief’s symbol, also seen in the logo of Saint Louis Story Stitchers, which means “leadership in community”. The chief is at the center, encircled by the government and the people. Story Stitchers put youth at the center and surround them with artists and community. The name is open, enabling the project to incorporate additional partners and organizations. The name also communicates neutrality and thus, a safe space, to urban youth.

Saint Louis Story Stitchers youth are driving the organization to develop a space for at-risk 16-24-year-old youth in Saint Louis. Youth safe spaces providing training in soft skills in arts and technology for 16-24 -year-old underserved youth in St. Louis, Missouri with expanded services provided by Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective. "The Center" will provide greater access to Story Stitchers programs in vocational and career training in music and the arts and elated technology, civic engagement and community service, safe spaces to create and learn, and the stability and encouragement offered by mentoring adult artists. Additional youth-serving arts organizations may join in using the facilities and providing services to youth at The Center. Project-based programming incorporates youth and adult artists in an ongoing social justice arts practice that provides place keeping community outreach to the local African American community. Artists focus on public health and youth crime prevention. Once scaled up, The Center will grow Story Stitchers youth service program to 1,000 youth per year.

Saint Louis Story Stitchers uses nonviolent collective action and creative youth development to create systemic social change.
Story Stitchers uses a collaborative model to create social justice art. Story Stitchers’ Studio is a living laboratory where youth lead and build the nonprofit organization alongside adult mentors.Saint Louis Story Stitchers uses nonviolent collective action and creative youth development to create systemic social change.

Story Stitchers uses a collaborative model to create social justice art. Story Stitchers’ Studio is a living laboratory where youth lead and build the nonprofit organization alongside adult mentors.

Youth bring raw experiences and are supported by regionally and nationally recognized black artists and scholars who work alongside the young activists through collaborative learning experiences inviting dialogue and generating raw, authentic works of art. Story Stitchers use music, spoken word, photography, videography, and dialogue to highlight stories related to trauma such as gun violence, life transitions, and mental health. The work promotes mutual respect for diverse backgrounds and lived experiences, and fosters understanding across the racial, socioeconomic, and age divisions of our region.

In 2021:

  • 100 youth met with mentors 220 times including 43 public events and 177 educational programs
  • $22,000 stipends were earned by youth
  • 0 Zero youth became justice involved after joining Story Stitchers
  • Public performances and engagements reached 2,000 live audience members and 6,700 virtual @storystitchers followers with 688,140 views or impressions.
  • StitchCast Studio youth-led podcasts published 67 recordings and hosted 28 community guests

Story Stitchers is committed to placing youth at the center of the work both in identifying topics for exploration as well as the methods for engagement. This approach builds a community of youth and professional artists who respect one another. Gun violence continues to be a pressing public health crisis that consumes the attention of the engaged youth, and artistic expression helps youth work through the pain and loss they have experienced.

The Center is described by youth as having the following activities:

  • Welcoming facilities with large and small learning spaces
  • Studios stocked with state-of-the-art technology
  • Music, Videography, Photography, Writing
  • Learning
  • Internships
  • Collaboration
  • Mentoring
  • Community meals
  • Rehearsals
  • Performances
  • Discussions
  • Sharing

You can have a great impact in 2022! Your generosity will support more than 100 youth who need:

• To find a safe place to meet and find mentors

• A positive future removed from the world of guns and gangs

• To be all they can be—academically, socially and culturally

As you reflect on the impact you want to make with your year-end giving, please remember Story Stitchers youth need you!

I am please to share that Saint Louis Story Stitchers has Missouri State Tax Credits available!

Through the Youth Opportunities Program (YOP), Missouri Department of Economic Development, Missouri state tax credits are available for monetary donations made to Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective. All donors would be eligible for a 50% Missouri state tax credit claimable against their Missouri state tax liability, however, there is a $500 minimum donation. For example, if you donate $1,000 you can claim a $500 credit off of your Missouri state income tax and control where your tax dollars go!

Donations are greatly appreciated and support Story Stitchers youth programs. Please contact Susan Colangelo, Executive Director, at susanc@storystitchers.org to learn more.

With gratitude,

Susan Colangelo

President and Executive Director