Look at Us! Is built on the foundation that we inspire others by expecting the most of them. We create a safe and enabling environment that allows teens to flourish. Our model is designed to ensure that youth feel motivated; connected, challenged, valued, and most importantly that they have agency.
We use their interests as a starting point, which often include music, dance, sport and art and other such creative mediums. As a group they also identify a socially compelling issue that they want to address; using their interests, they design and execute a response. In order to do this, we run an experiential curriculum that trains them on communication, leadership, and creative thinking skills. We develop a platform to engage in dialogue, explore and make mistakes in a non-judgmental space.
The process and outputs are shared through a series of bold music videos, arts, photographs and short films.
Our approach involves the whole community, where we help the youth build relationships with themselves, their peers, their families and the world. As a part of the process, we create a network of local experts; a community of mentors, youth and their families at each site, who can sustain this enabling environment and continue to foster the culture of encouragement.
We work intensively for the first month, meeting for a couple of hours daily, as the youth conceive and execute their project. Over the next five months, we work with the community and the host organization to conduct community, local, national and global level events that showcase the youth and their work. These events also allow the youth to be reminded of the work they did over the course of the first month, helping to further cement the skills and habits they learned.
We strive to transform the teenagers into agents of change and enable them to become their own leaders. We help them realize they can pioneer change. We motivate the young people we work with to broaden their vision and expand their horizon. We foster confidence building and encourage them to discover their potential. We show them that despite their circumstances, they matter. We urge this vast human capital of all our teens worldwide to hope and dream, and we do it without the patronizing narrative that so often accompanies these projects.
Our projects directly involve about 50-70 teens, their community, the volunteer team and mentors, a total of at least 150 people. But the impact is far greater as Look At Us! brings into focus the global potential of all adolescents and the need for action. We highlight the possibility these teens have to impact their communities and to contribute to the world economically, intellectually, creatively and socially. We bring attention to these vulnerable adolescents and shed light on their needs, using their stories to inform and inspire others.