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Community Voices

HOPE Murals program helps at-risk youth discover their creative skills

Finding the self-confidence to grow and change one’s life takes courage. For some, because of personal circumstances, the challenge can seem almost impossible.

The at-risk youth at Miami Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center are discovering their own creative skills through the HOPE Murals program introduced to them by German DuBois III.

German DuBois III is the founder and executive director of HOPE Murals. Photo provided to the Miami Herald


DuBois said he “seeks to leverage the power of art to impact their lives by instilling the values of hope and perseverance as critical life skills to their success.”

“Art serves as a natural platform for youth to take safe risks, by exploring their creative side without being threatened by the judgment of others or fearing failure,” he said.

“The HOPE Murals model encourages the youth to creatively express their ideas derived from their life experiences and challenges them to envision a future filled with dreams and hopes of better tomorrow.

“I’ve worked in education nonprofit organizations for over 20 years and have witnessed firsthand how access to quality educational programming, led by committed staff that offer positive youth development, can impact a child’s life and inspire them to be their best,” DuBois said.

As founder and executive director of HOPE Murals, he said he collaborates with the state Department of Juvenile Justice and Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

“We work closely with the administration to identify a group of youth every month to participate in the creation and completion of a mural within the walls of the facility. Our program model spans over four weeks, and a new mural is completed per month,” DuBois said.

“There are enough walls throughout the facility to facilitate murals over the next two years.”

The program engages participants in small group discussions, which challenges them to think critically on many topics, from public events in the media, to issues in the community.

“The goal is to explore ideas that stimulate self-reflection and self-awareness. The youth who participate in the HOPE Murals project are impacted immediately.”

DuBois said they are held accountable for their actions week to week.

“We remind them that they are expected to conduct themselves accordingly, so they can continue to participate and complete the mural. Administrators, officers, teachers, and staff at the Juvenile Detention Center have all commented on the changes in behavior and outlook of those youth who complete the program model.”

And when they are released, the HOPE program offers transitional support.

“Many of the youth we serve live in difficult circumstances, struggle with severe poverty and experience high rates of violence. Faced with these challenges daily, it often leaves them with little hope of a successful life beyond the bars,” DuBois said.

“In many instances, the programming of HOPE Murals is their only engagement with positive adults that encourage them to think, plan and execute a strategy for personal success.”

DuBois was born and raised in the Bronx, and attended New York City public schools. He was a Division 1AA Athlete. He has a Master’s in Education from Columbia University Teachers College, and a Bachelor’s of Arts from Colgate University. His passion for youth development began when he was a teacher at Roosevelt High School in the Bronx.

“I believe serving youth who are disadvantaged and under-served, and often forgotten, is my calling and that is inspirational enough,” he said.

HOPE Murals invites local, national and international artists to serve as the Featured Artist for the month. They “co-lead the artistic cultivation process of bringing the conceptual image developed by the teens to life,” DuBois said.

“Working with other arts and cultural organizations is not only necessary, but strategic as we leverage each other’s resources to have the greatest collective impact with the youth we serve.”

To learn more, donate or get involved, visit hopemurals.org.

Walk to help newborns

Help raise funds for abandoned newborn babies at the sixth annual 5k Walk/Run Family Fun Day, 8 a.m. to noon March 9 at Amelia Earhart Park, 401 E 65th St., Hialeah

Everyone is invited to join “Saving Newborns — One Step at a Time,” and all of the proceeds will help fund life-saving services, including the 24/7 multilingual helpline, community outreach, education and awareness throughout Florida.

There will be family activities including interaction with Hialeah Fire Department firefighters. Children will be able to spray water with fire hoses and learn about firefighter duties. There will also be raffles, music and refreshments.

The Gloria M. Silverio Foundation hosts the walk. Learn more at asafehavenfornewborns.com.

Free courses at FIU

Are you interested in learning more about jobs in healthcare? Florida International University is offering a non-credit and free program starting March 4.

The training will be Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with optional Saturdays if needed. Tracks to be covered are Medical Terminology for Call Centers, Medical Office Procedures, General Healthcare Administration, Healthcare Assistant Track, and Coaching for Entry-Level Health Care Professionals.

The program will run for 12 weeks with two extra weeks for participants to spend in internship with Miami-Dade hospitals. FIU experts in the fields, as well as community experts, will be teaching or attending classes as guest speakers.

Orientation is March 2. For more details, visit engagement.fiu.edu/collaborations/coalitions/index.html. Applications are at go.fiu.edu/uplabsapp.

Play in a golf classic

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade will host the 52nd annual Golf Classic in Memory of Charles “Bebe” Rebozo starting with registration at 9 a.m., March 18, at Deering Bay Yacht & Country Club, 13610 Deering Bay Dr. Proceeds benefit the organization’s youth programs.

Everyone is invited to play for fun or at a competitive level. The tournament is 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Participants will receive a commemorative golf shirt, umbrella and golf balls plus free parking, green fees, cart, range balls, lunch provided by Clint Gulley of CMTG Inc., and dinner at the awards banquet.

Registration fees are $1,600 for a foursome. A dinner-only ticket is $100 per person. For more about sponsorship, to reserve a foursome or individual golfer, or to purchase dinner tickets, contact Arlene Peterson at 305-446-9910, or email apeterson@bgcmia.org. More at bgcmia.org/events.

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