“Stephen “Buddha” Leafloor, a longstanding B-boy, social worker, and founder of BluePrintForLife, is turning to crowdfunding for his organization’s latest non-profit venture, BluePrint Pathways, a Hip Hop social outreach program for incarcerated youth. With 30 days to raise funds to bring this program to youth correctional facilities across Canada, Leafloor is sharing his vision in hopes of garnering support for an innovative approach to enable social change and positive mental health.
A national award-winning youth outreach organization, BluePrintForLife is turning to crowdfunding to expand their work under a new non-profit, BluePrint Pathways, addressing the issue of mental health in youth correctional facilities. Through a 5-day intensive Hip Hop program integrating Hip Hop artforms (bboying/bgirling, beatboxing, and spoken word) with discussions surrounding topics such as anger, violence, sexual abuse, and addiction, Leafloor and his team of artistic educators and outreach workers aim to reach the minds of youth in custodial settings and to set them on a path to healing, resiliency, and regaining control of their lives.
With funding from the Guns, Gangs and Drugs component of the federal government’s Youth Justice Fund, BluePrintForLife is tailoring and evaluating their programming to meet the needs of gang-affiliated youth in maximum security facilities across Canada over the next three years. Unfortunately, the funding falls a bit short of providing some of the resources needed to implement the project as widely as they had hoped, such as staff travel and accommodation costs, and t-shirts for the hundreds of youth they will be working with. Thus, they are turning to StartSomeGood.com, a crowdfunding platform for global social entrepreneurs and impactful changemakers.
When asked about the link between crowdfunding, social good, and Hip Hop, Leafloor noted “Hip Hop is supposed to be about community – but we are also a community that sometimes struggles on a personal level. With the potential of reaching an incredibly large audience through crowdfunding, even a dollar from peeps can make a difference. Hip Hop is changing the world.” Recognizing Hip Hop as a language that resonates with youth everywhere, Leafloor’s vision of “no youth left behind” is a call to action for the global Hip Hop community, supporters of socially innovative approaches, and the general population to give these youth access to a program that can really make a difference in their lives.
In line with StartSomeGood.com guidelines, projects have a set number of days to reach the tipping point, the minimum amount to do some good, or the project receives nothing and the costs to provide these programs will still need to be covered. The BluePrint Pathways campaign has a 30-day fundraising window, from start to finish and is trying to reach the minimum of $7000 before August 15. Under a rewards-based funding model, contributors not only get to feel good, but they also get a thank you gift based on the reward level – clothing, photograph prints, personalized thank you videos, and even a keynote speech and facilitated arts-based workshop for larger corporate donations.
The programs are set to run in Canadian youth prisons starting this fall if successfully funded. To learn more about the organization, readers can visit the BluePrint Pathways pitch page here: www.startsomegood.com/BluePrintForLife
About the BluePrintForLife founder:
Stephen “Buddha” Leafloor has a Masters Degree in Social Work and over 30 years experience as a social worker. Stephen has also been an active participant in the Hiphop culture as a dancer since 1982 and completed his master’s thesis on this culture and its importance for educators and social workers in 1986. He was recently appointed as an “Ashoka Fellow” for Canada, one of the world’s most prestigious organizations for international outreach helping to connect social entrepreneurs who have system-changing ideas with supportive business, academic and public sector partners. In 2012, he was selected as one of Canada’s “Top 45 over 45” for Zoomers magazine.
As co-founder of the Canadian Floor Masters, (Canada’s oldest B-Boy / breakdance crew 1983), Stephen has performed for James Brown, Rapper IceT, Grandmaster Flash, BlackEyed Peas and George Clinton.
Pictures and videos available upon request. See more at the BluePrintForLife website for descriptions, pictures, videos, and evaluations of our past work: http://www.blueprintforlife.ca
The Campaign Updates and Announcements Page: http://www.facebook.com/BluePrintPathways
First hand experiences from a pilot program at the Calgary Young Offenders Centre (from The Ashoka Network’s Play Exchange Blog for innovative ideas in health): http://www.changemakers.com/playexchange/blog/youth-empowerment-and-healthy-living-magic-hip-hip”
-press release and photo submitted by Stephen Leafloor, BluePrintForLife
Read BluePrintForLife’s profile and Arts Health Network Canada’s profile on ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map