“Beyond 16 Bars” – is a culturally competent interactive and experiential learning program infused with Life skills themes to aid youth in social, emotional and personal development. “Beyond 16 Bars” creates understanding and new learning through utilizing Hip-Hop music and culture as a vehicle to convey necessary life skills themes. The infusion of culturally competent themes makes for a better connection to youth and conveys messages in the language that they understand the most.
The comprehensive approach, combining informational sessions, music and lyrical engagement, guest speakers and self-reflective intense discussions and activities, encourage youth to critically think about their current situations and envision a change for their future. While the program will be offered to all residents, facility engagement can also foster potential long-term relationships with youth that will soon re-enter the local Onondaga county community, gaining their trust and lending their ears to knowledge for personal change. The program touches upon various themes including understanding necessary steps for financial stability, academic success and entrepreneurship through the eyes of Hip-Hop culture and youth culture. Our aim is to improve performance while in the youth facility and break the cycle of recidivism upon re-entry into the community.