Kia Wells, VOICES Corp

Our mission is to enhance the lives of youth through expression of self, community involvement, and providing options that will empower them to change their livesWe currently operate a Day Reporting Program for middle and high school age youth in Marion County that are involved with the Juvenile Probation Department. This program works with system impacted youth who are not in a traditional school setting and is used as a community alternative to secured detention. VOICES offers a culturally responsive, trauma informed learning environment that meets the needs of the youth of our program. We excel at working with trauma impacted youth that are searching for an identity. Trauma impacts people in many ways. Some individuals find ways to cope and overcome life’s events, others, suffer physical and emotional consequences that can last a life time. Through our program youth learn how to identify origins of their emotions and express them in a constructive manner. They are challenged to critically look at their environments and develop understandings of their world. Utilizing Restorative practices, Art Therapy, creative art programs, and increasing critical literacy, allows us to assist youth and families by creating trusting relationships through art and self-expression; allowing for root cause conversations to occur, and change to be fostered. Throughout our program we have found that youth find comfort in vices that consist of distance, addictions, abuse, depression, anger and distrust.  It’s not just a gun, or a drug that’s a vice to today’s youth, but something rooted deep inside.  Our program breaks the vices, and helps them find their voices.  VOICES strongly believes that to reach youth, we must meet them where they are, and become relevant in their realities. Our goal is to increase their academic skills, increase critical literacy, and provide tools for positive social interaction so that students can return to school and begin rebuilding their futures. By building strong relationships, identifying key community partners, and utilizing positive behavior supports our hope is that our youth will begin to see the value in having an education and providing for themselves and their families in a legal and safe manner.