AwesomeStPaul is proud to announce our March 2023 grant recipient. The Urban Village is bringing our Karen families together for this camp experience. Thank you Urban Village for your awesome work in our community.
According to their application,
“At The Urban Village, we understand resettlement as a generational reality rather than the more commonly understood three month process of initial landing. Being that most Karen families arrived after 2006, the initial challenges of resettlement are still prevalent in our community. One of the biggest challenges identified by multi generational members of our community is the youth’s struggle with the intersectionality of understanding and connecting with their cultural identity. It’s no secret that disconnected and unrooted youth are prone to experience violence, disenfranchisement, and substance abuse at a higher level. Currently we are seeing a spike in Karen and Karenni youth engaging in violence at school. We see this as a manifestation of the inner turmoil and confusion created by a lack of connection to any culture or identity. We know that a more rooted youth in their own identity is also a more empathetic and curious youth towards understanding other’s identities. The truth is our Karen and Karenni youth don’t feel quite Karen/Karenni enough for their parents, and not quite “American” enough for their peers. Because of this, in 2022 we launch our first ever "Knyaw Camp" (Knyaw is how you say Karen in the Karen language).
This past summer we took a 100 youth from our community up to St. Croix state park for a 3 day camp experience that focused on deepening the connection to cultural identity as well as healing from traumatic experiences. This year our camp centered around 4 key topics with small group breakouts: My History, My Experiences, My Identity, and My Responsibility. We also played games that many youth played in refugee camps, cooked culturally relevant foods, and spoke and sang in the Karen language. The whole idea around this camp was to create safe space where Karen kids can come together and explore about their experiences and identity. What happened was so incredible that we want to offer two camps next summer. We hope you'll join us.”
Funded by St. Paul, MN (March 2023)