Freedom 4 Youth (F4Y) facilitates weekly classes, workshops, and annual conferences focused on communication and social-emotional learning at detention facilities and the F4Y Center in Santa Barbara. Our primary leadership program, which has been facilitated weekly at Los Prietos Boys Camp since 2008, strives to identify and further enhance the skill sets that youth already have to support them in becoming leaders in the community and within themselves. This program facilitates opportunities for youth to give back to their community and creates openings in their lives for tolerance, diversity, and change. Youth members learn to share personal stories, use creative expression, discuss culture and family, engage in public speaking, develop active listening skills, and define what respect for self and others means to them. Some examples of activities include goal setting and dream boarding, realistic role-playing exercises that enact common social challenges and effective ways to respond to them, qualities and manifestations of healthy relationships, and public speaking competitions.
The other leadership program that we facilitate is called the Success Stories Program and was started by a small group of men in a California prison in 2014. This program uses a dialogic and Socratic method to address the implications of patriarchy and toxic masculinity in individuals and small or large scale communities. Patriarchy and toxic masculinity repeatedly manifest in the objectification of people (primarily women), prioritizing money over healthy relationships, and the perceived need to exert physical dominance (violent or otherwise) to express a higher level of masculinity. This program empowers youth to identify how these concepts have impacted their own lives and provide them with tools to deconstruct and dismantle these oppressive systems within themselves and their communities.
To see their documentary directed and produced by CNN, visit: https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2018/04/18/the-feminist-on-cellblock-y-doc-orig.cnn