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Asheville youth reflect on building a better world

What happens when you put a microphone and camera in the hands of youth? When you guide them through an exploration of the senses and encourage their creative expression? When you make space for youth and adults to collaborate, using a model that works to disrupt power dynamics and involve young people in the shaping of the programming?

This is StoryCraft, a youth storytelling initiative from Asheville Writers In The Schools and Community (AWITSC) and Blue Ridge Public Radio (BPR).

In the first installment of audio produced during our 2022 workshops, we hear from Asheville youth on a range of topics they wanted to explore - from what adults could do differently, to how to build a better world.

What do you want the world to look like when you grow up?

"I would like there to be less poverty, less homelessness, more food."

"We need everybody educated."

"No more racism... no racism and no more gun violence."

Thanks to our StoryCraft participants: Tyja Lassiter, Tyron Lassiter, Zy’Unique Logan, Zaiden Logan, Miley Perry, Justin Mann, Dakota Finley, and Destyni Young.

This Saturday, Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community is holding two events at the Center for Craft. You're invited to: Ignite! Catalyzing A BIPOC Arts & Culture Ecosystem, a fundraising reception from 5:00-6:30 to benefit the programs of Asheville Writers In The Schools. At 7 PM, it's the annual Youth Arts Showcase, a celebration of art and performance by youth from AWISC programs and from programs of other local youth organizations. Both events will feature StoryCraft.

The inside of a studio at BPR showing Mike Martinez at left, and two youth by microphones on the right. A reflection of the youth photographer can be faintly seen in the glass.

Mike Martinez is one of BPR’s announcers, guiding listeners through 1A, The World and weekend programming like It’s Been A Minute, This American Life and Fresh Air Weekend. Mike is known locally and in pockets around the country as a songwriter, vocalist, rapper, activist, and frontman for his bands, Natural Born Leaders and Beekeepers. In the wake of NBL’s hiatus, Mike branched out, with an EP of solo material, ‘Anti-Virus’. In the midst of a global pandemic, and long overdue due social unrest, Mike continues to make art, pertinent to the times, and align himself with more musical collaborators. Mike also has a dedication to learning and growing consistently with a dedication to delivering the truth to the masses.