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Throwing A Lifeline: Special Valentine's Day invite for mothers

Published as part of the February 13, 2013 edition.

Throwing A Lifeline: Special Valentine's Day invite for mothers

FORT WAYNE-Brother Foundation One, developer and presenter of a unique program designed to help young escape the tragedy of the streets has a special invitation for Valentine's Day for the next session of the program:

"Mothers, bring your sons if you're having problems with you sons. Share Valentine's Day, especially because there are so many mothers who are fearful that their children will be killed out here," said Foundation One, inviting those mothers to participate in a special session of Throwing A Lifeline, a program he has been conducting at the Three Rivers Institute of Afrikan Art & Culture (TRIAAC), 501 E. Brackenridge St, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Feb. 14.

Throwing A Lifeline, said Foundation, is designed to help deliver young people from the plague of violence that is infecting the city's streets by helping youth and young adults to develop critical thinking skills and positive reinforcement. Additionally, it's designed to teach about another most important concept- love.

"Through my studying I found that the missing element in these brothers is love because once you learn how to love you can't hurt anybody," he said.

Participants in the nine-week program meet from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., each Thursday at TRIAAC. Foundation introduced the program on Jan. 24 and the first session was held Feb. 7 with subsequent sessions to continue through April 4, the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation said the upcoming Feb. 14, Valentine's Day session is a perfect opportunity to help emphasize that message, though not in the traditional way. "It's not about making love-it's about teaching them how to love," he explained.

That's a message he said he learned from his elders who helped him to change his own life and saved him from the streets.

"I dedicate this to all the elders who taught me. I'm just doing what I was told to do," he said. "They were there for me. I just want to be there for the next generation coming through.

Brother Ketu Oladuwa, executive director of TRIAAC, said the Throwing A Lifeline is a perfect fit for TRIAAC, which is dedicated to building a better community by freeing individuals to regain their true identities through arts or other means. He said TRIAAC provides the type of atmosphere needed to pursue such important work-especially for young people who might be at risk.

"Before you learn how to love, you have to learn how to listen. They have to have a safe physical and psychological space where they can drop their guard and be themselves and not have to be the image they think is protecting them," said Oladwua. "That's what Throwing A Lifeline is about."

Oladuwa, a renowned writer, poet, musician, journalist, youth advocate, community elder and activist, said one key to changing how young people see themselves as individuals and a community is through teaching them about the impact of what we say.

"It's really getting them to understand the power of words. Our whole world is constructed on words and most people don't pay attention to the words that come out of their mouths, especially those involved in violence because they're riding emotion," he said.

He said Throwing A Lifeline is designed to get youth to slow down, feel impact of words on their own bodies and therefore the impact of their words have on their surrounding world.

For more information call TRIAAC at (260) 969-9442 or go to triaac.org/3390/throwing-a-lifeline/.

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