NFL wide-receiver DeSean Jackson heads the AIM Anti-Bullying and Anti-Violence program.
We're pleased to announce NFL cornerback Donovan Warren is the new head of Athletic Invention Programs for AIM!
Started by Karina Smirnoff (Dancing With The Stars), Dance Intervention utilizes choreography, dance, and movement to develop emotional, physical, and mental self-image among youth.
By providing professional quality training, young people are engaged in an interactive dialogue of movement and emotion that shows how dance can strengthen belief in yourself. Participants discover how rhythm is an essential element to choreographing a vision for their lives.
Karina's reputation as a leading dance artist of our times is combined with her personal history of spanning borders, identities, and expectations to create a foundation that will invoke hope and possibility in the minds of many.
Dance Intervention joins other AIM programs in creating a more holistic model of education that addresses the root causes of violence and self-destruction through a combination of athletic outlets, artistic therapy, needs assessments, and a nurturing environment.
The Rose From Concrete workshop is named after Tupac's poem and was designed by Leila Steinberg for at-risk youth. The workshop is taught to students in public schools, individuals incarcerated in the juvenile justice system and those residing in residential treatment facilities.
The program's goal is to counteract drug addiction, crime and violence through dialogue, spoken word writing and rap. Workshop participants face critical issues in their lives, take responsibility for their actions and learn creative ways to express anger and pain.
Steinberg teaches a curriculum she developed from over 20 years of working with disenfranchised youth. She helps workshop participants work toward a greater self-awareness. She inspires individuals to face truths that are hard for others to hear, harder still for the writer to admit. This deeply felt and painfully honest exploration is aimed at reviving the HeArt, ultimately empowering individuals to transcend their pain.
Steinberg's workshops begin by allowing participants to bond over their pain. Weekly assignments are given and participants write on "topic." Her first assignments ask participants to explore negative emotions and experiences. Broad topics like pain and life story uncover issues of addiction, child abuse and gang violence.
Participants in Steinberg's workshop are frequently at odds with each other over racial or gang-related prejudices. Steinberg speaks candidly about her own experiences—a broken family, violence endured in rough neighborhoods attending local schools and moving from poverty to privilege at a young age. She also discusses her work in the music industry with rap icon Tupac Shakur. Workshop participants sense that Steinberg relates to them on their level. Even the hardest cases have the utmost respect for Tupac.
They assess their own aggression, anger and feelings of rage. Writing about these experiences is a creative outlet. Participants learn positive and constructive ways to express themselves and deal with pain and rage. This is a major step toward personal transformation and behavior change.
The bonding that occurs breaks down the numerous barriers youth have been wrongly taught to put up. Gang hostilities and racial biases fade quickly once people are able to see how much they have in common.
As they open up, writing and speaking about their lives, they see that others share the kind of hurt that they have felt very alone in experiencing. They are required to read their pieces and gradually develop a confidence to speak more comfortably in front of a group.
The group environment is extremely important during this process of opening up. With the help of a supportive group, individuals work toward a greater self-awareness in a safe environment, one that encourages this discovery.
AIM offers an artistic outlet for at-risk youths traumatized by violence in their lives. Before young people's minds can be reached their HeArts must be healed.
Alternative Intervention Models was founded in part as a response to the massive budget shortfalls in the nation's inner city public schools that resulted in arts programs being cut.
Leila Steinberg has developed an arts-based curriculum that works first on the HeArt. She reaches out to youths on an emotional level, prior to any intellectual development. Her artistic collaboration with Tupac Shakur gives Ms. Steinberg tremendous credibility with those from violent backgrounds. Working together in poetry workshops, Leila and Tupac developed a foundation for getting through to young people in pain. This foundation led to a curriculum based on the writings from Tupac's book of poetry, The Rose From Concrete, and from Leila's involvement of nearly 20 years with artists and at-risk youths.
At assemblies Leila introduces AIM's work and brings several artist-educators who have also been trained in the work she developed with Tupac. Most of her artist-educators come from similar backgrounds as the young people they are reaching out to. Their performances reflect the current cultural trend of today's youth.
AIM has appeared at school assemblies throughout Southern California. This is a partial list of LA schools where AIM has appeared: