History Reimagined is an annual youth program designed to increase protective factors for youth ages 10 to 17 at-risk of incarceration in Los Angeles County. The curriculum is facilitated in classroom settings or after-school, supported by clinical supervisors, and focuses on four critical components:
Building trust and mindfulness through quality social relationships;
Learning family and community history often missing from history classes;
Exploring innovative storytelling methods and forms of expression;
Strengthening social connections by creatively sharing history with others.
Research shows that youth who understand their family and community history (no matter the nature of it) are more confident and resilient in how they navigate the world. These youth have stronger senses of inter-generational connection, representation, and identity that allow them to learn from the past and carry legacies into the future.
Research also shows that low self-esteem, childhood trauma, a lack of quality social connections, and a lack of affirming representation are common risk factors that make youth more vulnerable to the cycle of domestic violence and the school-to-prison pipeline. These risk factors disproportionately affect youth of color - specifically Black, Brown, and Indigenous youth - LGBTQIA+youth, immigrant youth, and youth with mental or developmental disabilities.
These same youth also face the challenge of navigating academic settings without having their identities, experiences, or intergenerational stories reflected back. In fact, history curriculum still focuses predominantly on the narratives of white, European, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied men. Meanwhile, youth at-risk continue to experience prejudice and discrimination by teachers.
In response to these findings, we designed a prevention strategy that increases protective factors for youth at-risk by connecting them with their own family and community stories, and by building stronger social relationships with their family, guardians, school, and community.
Connecting Youth with Family & Community History
Our year-long curriculum is designed to provide students, teachers, and their community with the time and energy to build resilience, research history, explore storytelling methods, and showcase their findings. In 2020, our team will be prototyping an accelerated version of our curriculum and analyze data from it. Our curriculum is divided into 4 sections:
Feel Safety Within
Trust, Mindfulness, and Resiliency Tools
Reclaim Your Story
Researching Family & Community History
Find Your Path
Exploring Creative Storytelling Methods
Be Your Story
Strengthening Family & Community Relations