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At-promise teens in Indianapolis are using art to express their trauma

At-risk teens use art to express trauma in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — At-promise teenagers in Indianapolis are using art as a way to express their trauma. Students at VOICES, which is an alternative school for boys located in Indianapolis, are learning new ways to share their feelings.

Henry Hedrick, 16, says drawing and graffiti art have been a passion of his since he was a little boy.

“My family is very artistic so it’s just something that comes naturally for me,” Hedrick said.

Hasib Muhammad, 17, says he loves to write and express himself through rap music.

“It helps me express myself,” said Muhammad. “It helps me cope with certain stuff that’s going on.”

30 students are currently enrolled at VOICES. They’re using art to learn how to open up and make better decisions while staying out of trouble.

They also write their feelings out on paper as it’s another therapeutic way to help them communicate effectively.

“It’s easy as that sounds getting the guys to do that can be difficult sometimes because one people don’t want to share or two they don’t know how to express themselves,” said Trey Wright, chief operations officer for VOICES.

Teens say their creativity has allowed them to escape their reality of the gun violence continuing to happen in their neighborhoods.

“I try to stay out of everything like hang around the right people and stuff like that, but it does worry me because I have family my age,” Muhammad added.

“It hurts to think about that. It hurts, but I’ve been dealing with death for so long it’s not new to me it’s not a new pain that I’ve never felt before,” said Hedrick.

Students say they would like their creativity to create a positive impact on their peers to also stay out of trouble, despite the surge in violence across the city. Teens hope their time spent here at VOICES can help them make better decisions moving forward.