• Imani Jai

Where Have I Been?

The summer for many people are usually filled with relaxation & a chance for students to unwind from the "hecticness" of the school year. I wish that could be the way I'd describe my summer so far, but it is not. The posts have been pretty M.I.A for the most part, but please don't think I have forgotten about everyone. My summer has been jam packed; I have been taking summer classes, working, and looking for money for school and what not - so for me, summer could be described as a chaotic mess, but I am not going to complain too much because I genuinely believe God uses chaos to deliver grace and blessings.

Even though the blog has gone on a little summer hiatus, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Back in February, I began to think about the ways I could allow the blog to be more than just a place where I share my stories, y'all read them, and then just click off the site, but become space where you can share your stories, connect with others, and have an opportunity for real fellowship to take place that hopefully leaves you empowered. Although, I quickly found out that for me to accomplish this goal I would need some coin and that can be a pretty difficult goal to reach when you are a full-time student trying to pay for tuition with a part-time job that only pays minimum wage. I came to the realization that if I could not produce the money I needed on my own, that I would find an institution that would. In March, The Heinz Endowments posted their Transformative Arts Process (TAP) Youth Artist Grant. The grant focuses on providing an opportunity for arts education organizations and programs that are focused on working with young people from distressed neighborhoods in Pittsburgh to provide opportunities for young creative people to invest money in their vision of an arts production, whether visual arts, multi-media, music, spoken word, theater, movement, design, fashion or other creative expression (heinz.org, n.p.). I saw the opportunity to make that goal become reality through this grant, so I wrote for it. I am happy and even more thankful to announce to you all that I, along with nine other amazing youth artists were awarded the grant. "Honestly, imani jai" will be partnering with The Corner to carry out this grant project! The Corner is a community outreach program located in Pittsburgh's West Oakland neighborhood that provides affordable community events centered around the arts and social justice advocacy.

I am hoping that with this grant I can really expand the blog. So please expect to see some major changes to the site; more blog content, different writers, community and campus engagement, different media, and hopefully even an URL change (fingers crossed)! I hope you guys continue to have amazing, productive summers. Huge congratulations to the nine other Pittsburgh youth artists who were awarded the grant! Thank you for all the encouragement and love, and major thanks to the amazing people at The Heinz Endowments who saw something in this project and saw a need to the pouring in of women of color in college or pursuing post-secondary education.

If any of you have questions about my grant writing process, applying for grants in general, or anything at all PLEASE reach out & ask! I really want to make tools like foundations similar to The Heinz Endowments more accessible to young people of color to enable transformation to happen around you.

-imani jai

Check out both organizations to find out more their missions and initiatives.

To learn more about The Heinz Endowments:

Visit- http://www.heinz.org/

Follow on Twitter: @HeinzEndow

LIKE The Heinz Endowments on Facebook

To learn more about The Corner:

Visit- www.cornerpgh.org/

LIKE The Corner on Facebook

Follow on Twitter: @CornerPgh

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