Wilmington’s Youth contributes to Teen Warehouse by painting a mural
January 29, 2020
For Martin Luther King Day, the community’s youth came to the Teen Warehouse in Wilmington to complete a mural depicting the leader of the Civil Rights Movement.
Jannah Williams, the artist behind the mural, said she was very excited about the event and was happy to donate her time and services to it. She also said it was good that the mural brought so many people together. She met with the teens at the Warehouse beforehand and decided on what they wanted to create. She said they wanted to include a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. and something to do with reaching the black community.
“I was really nervous at first because having to direct so many people and then a lot of people coming in and out. I really like how the image is coming out,” said Williams.
Janice Nevin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the ChristianaCare Health system, said that ChristianaCare said she is thrilled to partner with the Warehouse and REACH Riverside by painting the mural and honoring Martin Luther King Jr’s vision for the country.
“At ChristianaCare, we serve together with love and excellence. This is an opportunity for us to serve together with love and excellence. I think for me today, personally, this is love. This is very much about respect and dignity. Seeking to understand by actively listening, always assuming good intentions. That’s why we’re here,” said Nevin.
Bettina Riveros, Chief Health Equity Officer and Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, and Community Engagement at ChristianaCare said they work to help each person in the community to achieve their best health and social care. She added that the Warehouse will provide a space for children to go to after school.
“It’s part of our commitment to the broader REACH Riverside initiative. We’re really excited to be here today, Martin Luther King Day, a day of service embedded within ChristianaCare’s values. It frankly is serving the community,” said Riveros.
Melody Phillips, Director of Operations of the Warehouse said the theme of the event was unity between the two communities.
Community clean-ups took place in Riverside and Hedgesville. The Fashion Steppers drill team led a peace march from Parkway Academy North to the Youth Empowerment Center for the youth and the community after painting the mural.
“That peace march really is an indicator of everything that Dr. King stood for. Non-violence, peace, [and] unity,” says Phillips.
Logan Herring, Chief Executive Officer of the Warehouse, REACH Riverside, and Kingswood Community Center, said their mantra is “Not to build programs, but to partner with other agencies and organizations that do programming for teens.
They have over 130 partners who provide programming centering around five pillars: Recreation, education, arts, career, and health.
Partners involved in this initiative include Delaware State University, I am my Sister’s Keeper and Christina Cultural Arts Center.
“We have what’s called a resident partner, so those resident partners will have coworking space here in the building. Then we have program partners who are a lot of grassroots organizations that will provide dynamic programming in the Warehouse,” said Phillips. “Our third level of partnership is what we call our Alliance Partners. Those are community-based organizations that have their own brick and mortar building.”
Herring said the three main goals of the Warehouse and the alliance of programming are to reduce the violence in Wilmington, produce academic support, increase educational outcomes, and build the next workforce. They want to make sure the talents of the youth grows.
“The Youth can participate in any one of those five pillars that focus somewhere around. They can do everything from yoga to math tutoring. It doesn’t necessarily need to be in this space,” says Herring. “That’s the most important thing people need to understand. Yes, we want a good number of teens to come here, but we also want to partake in programming at our alliance partners.”
Phillips said that 12 teens are employed with the Warehouse. They participate in community outreach, handle the Warehouse’s social media, and have done a variety of events. They began recruiting other teens for the cause. They will have career skills to be employed with some partners that are interested in hiring teens.
Patrick Ryan, Director of Programming for the Warehouse, said that it was imperative for the Teen Warehouse to focus on sexual and reproductive education and mental health education.
“Department of Health and Social Services is going to have a facility in the building. We also have a social worker on staff at Kingswood, that meets with our teens regularly to identify what support they might need and the social worker is able to connect them with different community resources that are available to them for things like mental health resources,” said Ryan.
The building is currently going through three million dollars in renovation and will be up in April. The work won’t be done once the Warehouse is completed.
“REACH is doing a 200 million dollar revitalization of Riverside neighborhood. We’re going to be building 600 mixed-income units of housing, we plan to build a state of the art Kingswood Community Center to include a new early learning academy in the upcoming years. Altogether we have three organizations, but we work well together. We work in alignment,” said Herring.
If you would like to donate to the Teen Warehouse, you can at http://teenwarehouse.org/donate/
By Monique Harmon