Youth Initiative: Beyond Fun & Games

July 9, 2017

This summer, the Youth Initiative’s theme, Beyond Fun & Games, has us exploring systemic social injustice from a game theory perspective. In discussing topics, such as food access and incarceration, with our games theme, we’re asking questions of: who are players in this game? What are the rules? Who creates the rules, and who must follow them? What strategies are in play?
We’re also exploring who we are as players in the “games” in our lives – what are our own roles, rules, strategies, and privileges in the community? In exploring these questions and Philadelphia, the Youth Initiative participants are seeking to transform the city around them, themselves, and their communities upon their return home.


Here are some poems that the youth have created with the help of Aleasha Watson, the Youth Initiative’s resident slam poet for the summer!

The wind is blowing with the shadows of our past,
The trees are rooted with the history of this country,
The leaves paint a picture of hope, faith, and possibility.

The path is one where many footprints have been left –
By the nameless and the known
With each step we take, new history is written…
Where justice I sought by young leaders
Seeking a way for all.

Here we gather
On this hot day
Here in Philly to learn something new
The world around us is red, yellow, green, and blue
Fresh air flowing
Coolers of life quenching thirst
Music to satisfy our ears
People gather communication abounds
Art reflects our faces
With art we fill empty spaces
Here we gather
On this hot day.

Gutted buildings, scattered belongings
Of things that once were treasured
When all seems lost. God’s angelic heroes
Descend from the heavens carrying hope
And faith. In the midst of loss,
New possibilities arise, with ladders and
Stretchers coming to save this city of
Despair. Many hands and hearts work
Together as a community to fufill the
Common goal of reconstruction.
Will this be home again?

For more updates, reflections, photos, and poems from the summer, follow the Youth Initiative on Instagram at @bsmyi and on Twitter at @bsm_yi !