We created an opportunity
where none existed
In November 2018, the Oregon Stand for Children organization awarded these young ladies - Jeanette Mmunga, Justice English and Johana Amani - with a $16,000 Beat The Odds college scholarship.
Only four high school students in Portland received this honor and three of them were mentees of educator S. Renee Mitchell. Renee recognized that this moment presented a unique opportunity to support and empower other youth of color.
So together, we created I Am M.O.R.E. as a transformational platform that uses the power of personal storytelling, critical inquiry and social-emotional skill building to help youth of color move past the emotional grip of their trauma, rise to their potential, and shift into the depth of their possibilities.
Since then, the vision expanded to include facilitating culturally sensitive, trauma-informed workshops and Self-Care Days for educators, empowerment workshops for youth, and public performances that create space for youth to speak their truth creatively, i.e. art, music, poetry and dance.
I Am M.O.R.E. is grounded in these philosophies:
Culturally sustaining pedagogies, a developing theory that centers, honors and values communities of color as whole, rather than viewing them as broken and deficit-ridden;
Relational-cultural theory acknowledges that we all find meaning and belonging when we are engaged within community, and, conversely, feelings of shame and unworthiness when we cannot wholly be ourselves without judgment;
Choice theory posits that all human beings seek to receive and give love. And people tend to be unhappy because of an inability to satisfy one or more basic needs: Love and belonging, fun, achievement, freedom and survival; and.
Empowered Resilience theory is a developing theory created by I Am M.O.R.E. which acknowledges that once someone is centered in their power and sense of purpose, they intuitively look for ways to empower others.