by Christine M. Her, Yvette Z. Hermann, and Emma K. Parker
ArtForce Iowa is a non-profit organization based in Des Moines, Iowa. Founded in 2012, ArtForce Iowa has a mission to transform youth in need through art. It is pioneering a non-pathologizing approach to working with children in need of services and it offers a critical humanizing perspective using art and music. In this article, seven youth stories provide windows into the troubling, but hopeful, effects of the young people’s relationship with their own healing. The article aims to shed light on the promise of authentic kindness, the freedom of art, and the empowerment of youth leadership to support the social and emotional lives of children from marginalized communities.
ArtForce Iowa was conceived by a man who was convicted of attempted murder and terrorism for a drive-by shooting that happened in the summer of 1999 in Des Moines, Iowa. While in prison, this man hand-wrote three manuscripts—a memoir and two novels—inspired and informed by the narrative styles of Philip Roth and Saul Bellows. After his release, he sought the help of an editor for his third manuscript, a novel.
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