By Nyesha Stone
As we grow through life, we experience it all from happiness to downfalls, and as we learn from each of these experiences, we must share and educate those younger than us. Two individuals working toward the same goal, but in different ways—building up our youth—met back in February, and now they’ve put together a weekly workshop that’s held twice week to educate Milwaukee’s youth on leadership skills–Valuable Insight Project.
Sexual Assault survivor, activist and Founding Director of Priceless Incite, Annika Leonard said once she met psychotherapist and Founder of the Wake-Up Program, Alfonzo Watkins it only made sense to bring their efforts together to make a bigger impact.
For example, many inner-city youth experience traumas that they don’t know how to articulate, said Watkins. So, this workshop is giving youth the language to express things that they are experiencing. Once they attain that language, then they’ll be able to access the resources they need, and they’ll be able to cope with their issues in a productive way.
“We are so used to being oppressed we just lay down,” said Leonard. But, with these workshops, Leonard and Watkins are helping our youth stand up, which will only improve our future.
Through their teamwork and dedication, Valuable Insight Project was birthed. This weekly workshop is targeted towards youth aged 13-18 years to give them skills, education and gems they wouldn’t typically learn in school. The workshops are being held from Aug. 7-Sept. 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., every Tuesday and Thursday, at 3353 N. Dr. Martin Luther King
Dr. Leonard and Watkins also give the youth history lessons—the real history of our people that’s usually isn’t taught in public education, where most of the youth attend. By knowing the true history of Black people, they can then start to understand themselves, and the ways of the world.
“[We need to start] taking control of the information that’s being simulated to us,” said Watkins.
These two individuals understand that life isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean you give up and let life overtake you, and with these workshops, the youth will not go down the same path as the ones before them.
Leonard has had her share of traumas, so she founded Priceless Incite—a mobile service delivery that provides various services to individuals affected by Sexual Violence. According to Leonard, she provides counseling services to local youth organizations, teaches curriculum in schools, and so much more.
With his years of experience in counseling and helping individuals through their traumas, Watkins created the Wake-Up Program which provides mental health treatment for individuals, families and groups.
These two together make a dynamic duo who have been and will continue to strive to make Milwaukee a better place for everyone.