Impact – Oasis 2016

Corbey Dukes, Director of Oasis

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Athentikos, I AM ART processes pain through creative arts, and resolves conflict through God’s greater story of redemption.

We’re grateful to partner with organizations like Kids Alive’s Oasis in Guatemala, a ministry that seeks healing and restoration for girls who have been rescued from abuse. Oasis Director, Corbey Dukes shares his perspective about the impact of I AM ART in the video above. Special thanks to Emily Tuttle for the video footage & interviews.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Corbey’s Interview”][vc_column_text]

One of the measures I can use for how effective the I AM ART Camp is, is the reaction of the girls. And, the girls love it! The girls are excited about it, and I can guarantee that I’ll have 20 girls ask me, “When are they coming back?”

People want to build things – build a new house, or an office complex. And that’s great. But I’ll say, the most important thing that can be built is a new heart. And programs like I AM ART, programs that Athentikos puts together to come in and make an investment in the child and in the staff … that’s heart building. It may be harder to measure than how many hundreds of pounds of concrete that we pour. But, the impact is huge! Because often, something like this is the first time they (the girls) have done something beautiful in their lives.

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They came from very dark, ugly places, and to be able to generate something beautiful with color, with harmony, with music, with self expression … It’s a way for them to reclaim their humanity. It’s a huge boost to their identity of who they are in Jesus, the power they have over their voice and their body. Their body is reclaimed. It’s theirs. It’s clean. It’s not stained by what others did to them. And, they can start to realize they’re chosen for something different than their past.

I’m running a home and I’ve got responsibility for a hundred kids, and for me, this is an investment that I love. I love Athentikos. It’s a ministry worth your prayers and your encouragement – worth promoting for people in your church or community to be a part of an Athentikos team. Man, it’s worth it. And it’s certainly worthy of your financial support.

-Corbey Dukes
Director of Oasis

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Follow the Light

About 3 months ago, I wrote a blog for Athentikos reflecting on my I AM ART trip to Oasis in November of 2016. I talked about the amazing time I had and how difficult it was to come back to the United States and have to say good-bye to all of the wonderful people I had met. However, as time passed and I readjusted, a lot of those painful feelings started to fade and I was left with all of the positive emotions I had associated with the trip— Love, Joy, Peace, Patience… All the fruits of the spirit and then some. I still miss Guatemala and everyone I met, but the passion I have is so overwhelming that it’s much easier to remember the most beautiful things about my experiences.

This was not the case on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

On March 8th, I had a heavy heart for Guatemala. Many of you have probably heard about the fire at one of the orphanages in Guatemala, if you haven’t heard about it yet you can read the full story here. This wasn’t one of the homes that Athentikos works with on their I AM ART trips, but the sting of loss is there all the same. This is a particularly difficult story because we know this home was supposed to be safe. The children living there should’ve been protected and they were failed. It is natural to look at this moment with a heavy heart and be upset or angry or saddened or heartbroken and I believe that we should embrace those emotions in all of their reality just as much as we embrace love and joy. As my friend likes to say, “Sometimes you’ve got to just feel your feelings.”

I sent a number of text messages out to my friends upon hearing about the tragedy of the orphanage in Guatemala and immediately received messages like these in return:

“Sending so much love and prayers to Guatemala”

“I hope they get the love and healing they need and deserve”

“They’ll all be in my prayers”

“Let us know if there’s something we can do to help”

 

After those messages, I did some reading and found that John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

I still, in spite of tragedy and loss, believe this to be true. The darkness is painful and scary at times, but it will not overcome the light. Athentikos is a light, our partner organizations are a light, the kids we help are beautiful lights, and all of you who put your hearts and souls into Athentikos are lights as well. And eventually, like after my trip, the joy and love will still be there long after the darkness fades away. The passion is part of our hearts. Thank you for investing your spirit into Athentikos and Guatemala. We tell stories that involve an element of conflict and every lesson we teach tells us that after the conflict is a time of healing and restoration. The story does not end here… we just need to follow the light.

Meeting Maribel

This week we’ve got a story from someone very special: Maribel*, a beautiful young woman at Oasis Home for Girls.

Maribel and the other girls at Oasis were sent there by the Guatemalan court system after suffering sexual or physical abuse in their homes, or being forced into child labor. Most of the girls arrive at Oasis significantly behind in school or having never attended school, and each one of them carries deep scars from exploitation. Oasis works to be exactly that—a place of restoration and healing—for both the girls and their families. At Oasis the girls attend school, have access to therapy, and are introduced to the transforming love of Jesus.

We were honored to partner with Oasis and make I AM ART camps part of the healing journey for Maribel and her friends. And now we honored to share Maribel’s story with all of you! Your support is an integral part of the fabric God used to weave this story.

Oasis staff member Jenny says that Maribel is well-liked by the other girls at Oasis, but she struggles with self-confidence. “Maribel keeps somewhat to herself but has been slowly opening up to others,” says Jenny. When she drops her defenses, she reveals a kind, responsible girl who loves to have fun—a girl everyone would love to know better if given the chance.

In November’s I AM ART camp Maribel was placed in the self-portrait class with artist Payton. She began the week covering a canvas with every color and design her heart desired. Then, guided by Payton, she traced her own silhouette over top and began painting in the details of her face.

On Wednesday, Maribel and the other girls were instructed to cover part of their self-portraits with tape and paint the entire canvas black. “I felt sick,” says Maribel. “I felt like all of our hard work was being thrown out.” But then the class talked about conflict, and how the piece related to their own lives: “It reminded me that our hearts are full of sin, like the black paint, but it is God who cleans our hearts.”

Though this isn’t Maribel’s work, it showcases a final product of the self-portrait workshop she participated in.

The next morning, Maribel and her classmates returned to their blackened pieces. Each girl carefully pulled back the strips of tape to reveal her own face, shining like a gem in the midst of the black. “I like how it turned out,” Maribel says. “I never imagined I would be able to create something like this.”

“Now Maribel realizes that she can accomplish things even if at first they look hard,” says Jenny. Her self-confidence has grown, and that girl everyone wanted to know better is making more and more appearances.

“I learned that no matter what, God always forgives and cleans us,” says Maribel. “He cares for us and protects us. I AM ART means that I am God’s art. No one is an accident. We are God’s perfect creations, and everything we do is art.”

*Maribel’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.

 

Something Changed Forever

 

The following blog was written by one of Athentikos’s volunteers and workshop leaders, Kati Korosuo. 

Going to Guatemala had been hunting me for about 13 years, until last summer (2016) I finally made it there. I spent five weeks in the country teaching Dances to a Beat (DTB), a dance technique I’ve developed myself, to a vast variety of different groups: from teenagers in an elite dance school, to dancers in a wheelchair dance company, to kids in the ghetto of La Limonada. DTB is a technique based on improvisation, repetition and rhythm. It deals a lot with seeing oneself as part of a bigger, meaningful picture and understanding one’s crucial importance there. DTB is a technique where the aim is to not just to accept one’s own movements, history, and personality, but to appreciate and enjoy them. It ultimately is a technique to celebrate the uniqueness in each of us!

 

I was very happy to be able to share DTB at Athentikos’s I AM ART camp with Vidas Plenas in La Limonada. Athentikos’ values about authenticity and transparency resonated strongly in me, and I had a good feeling about this collaboration. In La Limonada the extreme poverty, criminality and violence become a concrete reality that was, literally and metaphorically, thousands of miles away from my everyday life in Finland. Teaching the kids there had an impact on me, that is difficult to put in words. It changed something in my heart forever.

After my experience that summer, the culture shock returning back to Finland hit really bad. It was frustrating and difficult to become interested in all those meaningless things that we, in a western welfare state, have the luxury to become interested in and spend our lives on. And this shock didn’t ease out until I had decided to go back to Guatemala.

I wanted to continue working with Athentikos, and ended up spending two months in the country planning and executing an Artist in Residence pilot program that Athentikos plans to launch in 2018. This residency included two IAA camps and in-between working with Athentikos’s established partner organizations plus creating new connections with the local art scene there. I realized that coming back to Guate to continue the work I had started there was like a reconciliation: an action that had to be followed after that something that had started to stir in my heart.

My third I AM ART camp in Guatemala was held at Oasis, a home for sexually abused girls, where I had visited twice before. The camp didn’t start off so well, and new girls kept coming into my workshop in the middle of the week. They were super shy and reluctant teenagers, who seemed to resist everything I suggested. I quietly acknowledged that this week wouldn’t be so great now, however, I still wanted to do my best. And on the third day things changed. The girls started to open up and they would end up telling me things I would have never imagined. They shared with the group and they shared with me privately. They wrote letters. They told me how important this week was for them and how they had learned so much about dance and self-worth, how this group was like a family to them and how they wished this week would never end. The last days there entailed more hugs and tears than many months would.

Photo by Amelia J. Moore

Spending longer time in the country gave me the opportunity to understand the Guatemalan culture better, the both wonderful and challenging sides of it, as well as to connect on a deeper level with the locals. There was time to form real friendships and to see the kids in different moods, having good days, having struggles, having graduations. Returning back to places, seeing the kids again outside the camp setting also made me to understand that I’m just a visitor in their lives. I will be gone, and they will be just fine. However, after my last IAA Camp at Oasis, this perspective was challenged once more as I realized that the experiences we had and lessons we taught will stay with them forever.

One night at the camp the director of Oasis told our team some statistics and facts about the sexual violence in Guatemala and generally about some of the girls’ cases. I had not prepared for such hard facts and intense stories. This reality was very difficult to take in. In the beginning I had surely wondered about what kind of a story each girl there had (especially when some of them went to court and hearings during the week), but later, every time a story would get a face and a name, I crashed. I then felt that it was better for me to work with these kids without knowing all the details of their pasts. When I taught them, I wanted to concentrate on the things we were doing together and the qualities that make all of them incredible kids, not their heart-breaking pasts. 

All these three art camps by Athentikos have been different yet equally meaningful for me. The highlight of this last camp was the process with the girls. Again, like after each of these camps, I feel that I have been operating with something that is like the most important thing on Earth. And that my heart is exposed and broken in a way that it hasn’t before. It feels absurd that I wouldn’t return here anymore.

Photo by Amelia J. Moore

Held in Pain

Children processing conflict at Athentikos I AM ART 2016 Se Luz

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Conflict day … On the Wednesday of each I AM ART camp week, the workshop leaders direct their students to destroy or drastically modify the pieces they’ve spent the last two days working on—pieces that represent the children themselves. Everyone knew this day would be difficult and many of us went to bed on Tuesday with knots in our stomachs.

The kids’ reactions were much as expected. Those in the recycled art class kicked angrily at the lights, flowers, and feather boas they had been instructed to rip from the bike they were transforming into recycled art. In the printmaking class, every face was downcast as the children cut into their prints and set them aside, for what purpose they knew not. And in Laura’s mixed media class, Adolfo stared in horror, shaking his head and mouthing the word “no,” as she held his meticulously colored plate over a pot of boiling water.

What we learned that day was, for me, completely unexpected.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”7805″ img_size=”large”][vc_column_text]Jenn, the printmaker, tried to explain to her students that even though today was painful, they would be using their now cut-up prints to make a new, more beautiful piece of art tomorrow. “You’ll just have to trust me,” she told them. “But what if we don’t?” one student replied.

Meanwhile Laura’s students gathered their melted plates, cups, and bowls in their arms and began walking out of class. “Where are you going?” she cried. “We’re going to throw it away,” they said. “It’s trash now.”

“It killed me inside,” Laura says, her voice breaking. “I know what’s going to happen and I wanted so badly to just hug them and tell them it’s going to be okay, but I couldn’t.”

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”7806″ img_size=”large”][vc_column_text]The other artists echoed her sentiment and suddenly I understood a little bit better how hard it must be for God to allow us to experience pain and how much more it hurts us and Him when we don’t trust Him. Though God never positively wills our pain, He does at times allow us to experience it, with a clear vision of how He will use it to make us new, more beautiful creations.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”7807″ img_size=”large”][vc_column_text]

We went to bed on Wednesday night aching for our students who we had left in pain, who couldn’t see our vision, who didn’t trust us to transform their pain into purpose. All we could do was trust that God had His own, larger vision, and was holding us in this pain, using this camp to transform us all.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”7808″ img_size=”large” add_caption=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Prince Is Dead. Long Live Prince.

Purple

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If you’ve logged on to social media in the last 24 hours, you’ve probably noticed the incredible response to Prince’s death. I’ve been pondering the phenomenon for the last day … it’s overwhelming .. so much outpouring of respect and sadness. I’ve asked myself over and over, why? Why are people publicly sharing their memories of listening to his music like he was a best friend? Why are skyscrapers being lit up in purple at night in his honor?

I think it’s because his art connected us as a culture. Certainly, he had the advantage of being a “mega-star” of 80’s music. But, I believe his notoriety was result of more than just marketing. Prince was an artist, and whether you liked his music or not, he connected to people through his art. But he did more than connect himself and his art to people. He connected people through his art (incidentally, that is why the marketing dollars were spent to promote his art). His art disrupted and transformed culture. In some way, his art and our response to it defined our culture. Most of us didn’t know Prince personally, but if we experienced his art, we experienced an intimate outpouring of his story. We connected to something intimate that connected us to each other. So, it is not surprising that when someone like Prince dies, we feel like we lost a close friend. That is the power of art.

So what does that mean for artists?

As a creative artist, you’re a blessing to this world and everyone who lives in it. Maybe you don’t have the platform of MTV, or stadiums full of fans. Maybe your work isn’t displayed in an international art gallery. Maybe your film will never be seen in a theater. But, I propose that we have a greater purpose as creative artists. Our purpose is to be who we are, and create, disrupt, transform, and connect culture and communities great and small. Our purpose is to invite people into intimate reflection and dialog to heal and unite. Our purpose is more powerful that we realize. We are more than artists. We are art.

How do you see art impacting culture?

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][mk_button dimension=”flat” size=”large” url=”http://Athentikos.com/iamart”]Learn more about the Athentikos “I AM ART” community and mission[/mk_button][/vc_column][/vc_row]

I AM ART Spring 2016

Athentikos I AM ART Spring 2016

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Announcing I AM ART Spring 2016

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Are you passionate about creativity? Do you paint, write, draw, dance, sculpt, sew, act, sing, perform … etc? Do you have creative media skills in video, audio, or photography? Are you interested in using your talents to make a difference? I AM ART is an opportunity to use your creativity in transformative community.

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Creativity As Mission

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Athentikos will equip you to teach creative workshops to at-risk children, and document transformational stories in photo and video. You don’t have to be a professional. Bring your skills, and passion to use them with purpose. Invite your friends and join the journey of transformation! Connect to the greater story, exercising the gifts you love!

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Athentikos is recruiting team members for I AM ART Spring 2016 in Guatemala.  We are partnering with Proximos Pasos, who will host an I AM ART camp at their facility. Space is limited and applications will be selected in the order they are received.

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Still have questions?

Watch the highlight video from I AM ART Fall 2014.

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I AM ART Spring 2016 Guatemala TRIP

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March 4 – March 13, 2016

A school for 160 girls who are unable to attend public school due to extreme poverty and cultural prejudice.[/vc_column_text][/mk_content_box][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][mk_padding_divider size=”20″][mk_slideshow_box images=”5824,5549,6082,5190,5612,5714,5716,6088,5718,5514,5556,6087,5605,5487,6084,6083,5550,5547,5558,5539,5439,5254,5191,5528,5557,6085″ img_position=”left top” slideshow_speed=”3000″ transition_speed=”1000″ slideshow_mask=”false” section_height=”400″ full_height=”false” full_width_cnt=”false” padding_top=”10″ padding_bottom=”10″]
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Prior to the trip, Athentikos will meet with you personally and in community with other I AM ART team members to equip you with everything you need to use creativity in mission including:

  • Explore your story and evaluate how it connects to the Greater Story
  • Understand the cultural and spiritual context of the trip
  • Introduce you to other like-minded creatives from North America and Guatemala to foster community
  • Develop and implement a fundraising plan using our media and crowd-funding platform
  • Promote your trip through strategic social media
  • Prepare lesson plans for a 5 day workshop using our curriculum guide
  • Research and pre-produce stories for short documentaries
  • Select the right media gear for international production
  • Pack strategically for a short-term mission trip

[/mk_icon_box2][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1430339043215{background-color: #f6f6f6 !important;}”][mk_icon_box2 icon_type=”icon” icon_size=”32″ icon=”mk-moon-airplane” title=”Trip Schedule” title_size=”20″ title_weight=”inherit” title_top_padding=”10″ title_bottom_padding=”10″ align=”left”]I AM ART trips are life changing, creative, cultural, and spiritual journeys.

  • Friday – Travel to Guatemala and spend the night in Antigua, a 500 year old Spanish Colonial City surrounded by three volcanoes.
  • Saturday – Get to know team members, explore, and spend another night in Antigua
  • Sunday – Travel to the I AM ART Camp location, meet with local leaders, and prepare the facility for the week-long camp
  • Monday-Thursday – Attend large group sessions, Teach small group session workshops to at-risk youth, and spend time with Artist Team Members from North America and Guatemala
  • Friday – Prepare for a celebratory art show and visit the surrounding community to get a cultural understanding of the children’s lives
  • Saturday – Celebrate the week’s achievement in an Art Show with youth and community
  • Sunday – Return home or travel on an optional excursion in Guatemala

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$1800 + airfare
INCLUDES: Training, materials, food & lodging for 10 days, transportation in country, insurance, admin (ask us about using airline miles).

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Athentikos is a 501c3 non-profit and can accept tax-deductible donations on your behalf. In addition, all I AM ART team members are offered a personal crowd-funding campaign through our web site. We’ll coach you through the fundraising process and provide the resources you need to communicate your opportunity to grow and serve.

[/mk_icon_box2][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][mk_icon_box2 icon_type=”icon” icon_size=”32″ icon=”mk-icon-calendar” title=”Payment Schedule” title_size=”20″ title_weight=”inherit” title_top_padding=”10″ title_bottom_padding=”10″ align=”left”]– $150 non-refundable deposit is due on Saturday, October 25, 2015 after official teams are announced.
– Total Cost ($1800 + airfare) is due on Friday, December 11, 2015.
– Team members may continue to raise funds until 10 days after the trip end date to recoup any personal funds paid on theDecember 11, 2015 Deadline.
– After the I AM ART trip, when financial balances are settled, Athentikos will reimburse any funds up to the total cost, personally submitted by team members to make up for fundraising shortages on December 11, 2015 when total cost was due.
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Space is limited. Sign up today …

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Join creativity in mission! If you have any questions, please email us.[/vc_column_text][mk_button dimension=”flat” corner_style=”rounded” size=”large” outline_skin=”dark” outline_active_color=”#ffffff” outline_hover_color=”#333333″ bg_color=”#dd3333″ btn_hover_bg=”#252525″ text_color=”light” icon_anim=”none” url=”https://athentikos.com/iamart/i-am-art-application-spring-2016/” target=”_self” align=”left” fullwidth=”false” button_custom_width=”0″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”15″]

Register for I AM ART Spring 2016

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Excited, Nervous, But Mostly Excited to Empower Through Creative Arts

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Excited, somewhat nervous, but mostly excited to empower through creative arts.

That’s how I would describe my pre-trip status. I am constantly reminding myself that I am not in control, constantly thinking “Its not about me.” I see evidence all of the time that there is a bigger plan in place and I trust in that. I have been on several mission trips and been to foreign countries multiple times but something feels different about this trip. It feels like this time, its more real. It’s hard to believe that I will be in Guatemala soon. About a year and a half ago, I moved to California. I found myself in a city of 1,000,000 people and felt the most alone I have ever been. On top of that I was 3 days by car to any place I had previously lived. I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to reach out and find a community that I could be of some use or at the very least a group of people where I wasn’t constantly introducing myself. Athentikos found me during this time. Paul Lowder, which was a band mate and friend, invited me to join up. After researching the organization and watching their documentaries, it became clear to me that this was an effort that I could support and this was my way to plug in to a new community where I could do some good. Who knew that I would find the people on the Internet and the place in another country? It’s a reminder that God is not bound by geography and his plan for us can’t be predicted.

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This team didn’t really know me me but took me in as their own to shine hope to a group of youth in Guatemala.

That’s beautiful to me. I have been working hard lately trying to develop a plan to engage with the children that will encourage them and I find that the more that I think about it, the more I get excited about what’s in store for them and me this November.

Please pray for us as we take this journey and if you can, please help us raise funds for all the logistical needs of putting on an Art Camp in Central America.

Peace and Love and Thanks, David

[/vc_column_text][mk_button dimension=”flat” size=”large” outline_skin=”dark” outline_active_color=”#fff” outline_hover_color=”#333333″ bg_color=”#dd3333″ text_color=”light” url=”https://athentikos.com/give” target=”_blank” align=”left” fullwidth=”false” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”15″]Give a donation to Athentikos: I Am Art[/mk_button][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Official Fall 2014 I Am Art Team

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Introducing the Fall 2014 I Am Art Team

We’re blessed with an extremely diverse team this fall, including talent, age, and location. Our official team includes people from 6 states, with skills including theatre, dance, writing, collage, percussion, sculpture, painting, animation, quilting, scrapbooking, jewelry, spray paint, and art therapy.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]The Fall 2014 I Am Art US Team

Darlene Armendariz
Jenni Halterman
Julia Halterman
Cori Kiepke
David Lee
LeeAnn Love
Paul Lowder
Bobby Marko
Amelia Moore
Scott Moore
Heath Shackleford
Tammy Starr[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][mk_image src=”https://athentikos.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/I-Am-Art-Team-Square-02.jpg” image_width=”500″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][mk_padding_divider size=”20″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Our 2014 curriculum theme “Discovering Your Story” will help at-risk youth value their personal stories, open their eyes to dream beyond their current circumstances, and empower them with problem solving skills to achieve in life. We’re thrilled to journey with Hope for Guatemala and CTM Guatemala and impact the lives of Guatemala’s future leaders![/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_padding_divider size=”20″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

Help our team empower at-risk youth in Guatemala.

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Am I a Product of My Decisions or Circumstances?

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I recently read a quote that said, “I’m not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions.”

That phrase has been like a splinter buried in my skin, constantly irritating and demanding attention. I’ve wrestled with it over and over and tried to figure out why it bothers me. Then, it dawned on me. At the core, this statement is about justice …  and was obviously written by someone with opportunity … someone like me.

I understand the context of taking responsibility for the decisions I make in my life, but I’ve had opportunity. I was born in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, to a financially secure and emotionally stable family, with parents that loved each other and loved me. My parents encouraged me to study hard in school that was easily accessible and free because I lived in the US. I was given fertile soil in which to grow and blessed with freedom to make good decisions. But this is not everyone’s reality.

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A young girl at the Terminal Dump in Guatemala City. Photo by Scott Owen Moore.

For the last five years, I’ve been immersed in stories about the least, last, and lost – people whose circumstances include things like civil war, murdered family members, drug addicted parents, physical and sexual abuse, poverty, prostitution, theft, gang culture, street life … and survival. Are these people also products of their decisions? Yes … but where I had the freedom to make good decisions, they have been forced to decide between bad and worse, just to survive.

Circumstances filter the options from which to decide. But, creativity gives us the power to see beyond our current circumstances and limitations. 

Creativity doesn’t just open existing doors, it creates new structures and frameworks to walk into. Creativity multiplies opportunities for everyone regardless of circumstance because it enables us to dream. Creativity empowers a child born into a slum to escape the cycle of survival and move into a new hope of opportunity like micro-enterprise. Creativity also enables leaders to envision governmental structures built upon justice.

Children Playing at the Terminal Dump in Guatemala City. Photo by Scott Owen Moore.
Children Playing at the Terminal Dump in Guatemala City. Photo by Scott Owen Moore.

Our nation’s forefathers dreamed beyond rule of monarchy when they wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our forefathers collaborated in creativity born from and for justice because the God who created all men equal, also created the creativity which enabled these men to see beyond autocratic rule.

God is the creator of everything … including creativity. Creativity flows from God through us in a spiritual language that shares prophetic vision of who God wants us to be. It’s an opportunity to meditate on truths that we are unable to speak or comprehend on our own. Creativity invites each of us on a shared journey through opportunities that were once invisible. In the midst of fearful survival, creativity illuminates opportunity for justice.

As someone with opportunity, I choose to help others who live without it.

Through creativity, I choose to dream with others to share a story greater than myself. Our story is a beautifully diverse ensemble of broken and lost souls singing songs of grace, mercy, and undeserved forgiveness from a creator who loves us so much that He created a way to redeem us all through his own sacrifice: the ultimate expression of creativity AND justice.

If this resonates with you, we’d love for you to join the community in Athentikos: I Am Art .

Let’s explore creativity and justice together.

I’d love to know your thoughts. What do you think?

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