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At-Risk Teens Express Their Fears And Hopes In 'I Will Breathe' Time Capsules Buried At Milagro Center

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At-Risk Teens Express Their Fears And Hopes In 'I Will Breathe' Time Capsules Buried At Milagro Center

A dozen at-risk teens from Delray Beach's most economically challenged neighborhoods gathered together recently to enclose their fears, hopes and dreams in a time capsule that they hope to unearth under far better circumstances a decade from now.

The time capsule project - entitled "I Will Breathe" in memory of George Floyd - was conducted by Milagro Center, an academic and cultural arts after-school program for underserved children and teens, in an effort to encourage self-expression and healing during these difficult times

Participants included high school students that attend Milagro's Teen Leadership Program and middle school students that attend the center's Junior Teen Leadership Program. The capsules were buried in separate ceremonies in east Delray at Milagro's Teen Leadership Center and the adjacent Virginia and Harvey Kimmel Milagro Junior Teen Center.

The teens enclosed poems, masks, gloves, short writing pieces and palm drawings detailing their life experiences during the difficult challenges of the past few months.

"It was a cathartic experience for these teenagers as they were able to voice their innermost fears and hopes for the future," said Barbara Stark, President and CEO of Milagro Center.

Stark said life has always been a struggle for these economically challenged teenagers, but what they are facing now is truly unprecedented.

"So many other issues have converged on them, starting with the Covid-19 crisis, which has forced entire families, in many cases multiple generations, into isolation and desperate poverty. Their economic struggles have deepened due to job losses. Social unrest has intensified the crisis even further," she said "Any one of these challenges would have serious social and psychological effects on these teenagers, but, together, they have dealt a severe blow to their self-esteem, their confidence and their outlook on life."

Stark said Milagro Center decided to turn this situation into a positive by helping these students share their fears, their hopes and their dreams, said Stark. "At ages 14 through 18 now, many of these teens will be voting soon. Someday, we hope they will not only be productive members of our community, but also future leaders... mayors, senators and even governors."

The time capsules will be unearthed on July 10, 2030, "when we know these students will come back as respected, productive members of this community to unearth the capsules," she said.

Stark hopes the time capsule project will help Milagro Center continue to "create an indestructible sense of self-worth among all of our students."

Wrote one student in a palm drawing that will go into the time capsule: "We must be the change we wish to see in the world."

For more information about the Milagro Center, visit www.MilagroCenter.org or call 561-279-2970.


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