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Growing Up, Achieving; Lewiston Youth Share Hopes

What does it mean to have a dream?

Does where we come from matter?

Nearly 20 Lewiston teens took part in Maine Public's Raise Your Voice Workshop this summer at Tree Street Youth Center and explored some of those ideas through writing and photography.

The participating young people were involved in the program through the 21st Century Schools program at Lewiston High School. They mixed learning some of the basics of photography with several photography trips into the community, and they took on a number of writing challenges to help them share their perspectives about life and growing up.

The workshop series was sponsored in part by Lamey Wellehan Shoes.

Team Poetry

I hope.

I am very open-minded, confident, proud, changed, considerate, challenged, athletic.

I believe I can do whatever I set my mind to.

I don’t let my struggles define me.

I am an independent young woman.

I see the best in people.

I am a dreamer.

I am capable of overcoming anything.

By Amino Dagane, Adey Ahmed, and Hamdi Dakane

Journal Excerpts

"Lewiston means family, because I have lots of family around me."

"Culture is a part of who you are. The culture I am part of has always been important to me. It has taught me right from wrong. The people of my culture are unified. They stand up for each other. In my culture I feel safe and protected, but there are also things in my culture I am confused about."

"I will achieve my dreams some day."

"Lewiston is my home. I've lived here as long as I can remember. In Lewiston there have been many opportunities for myself and other youth to grow. But sometimes I get embarrassed to tell people I live in Lewiston, not because a lot of people don't know about it, but because of some of the things that have happened here. There's a lot that can change, but first we need to appreciate the diversity we have and learn to accept each others' differences. Lewiston is inspiring, welcoming, and diverse, and I want to be proud to call Lewiston my home."

"I am a black Muslim girl, and for many years I've dealt with the hardship of being that, but I don't let my struggles define me."

"I am a person who stands up for what is right. I'm a dreamer."

"Lewiston was once a place I called home, a place where I felt safe. At this point, this has become a place where I feel unwanted. I just hope sooner or later this tension goes away and we all become the united family we once were. Lewiston was never so diverse, but once immigrants came and everyone got used to each other it became a city that everyone looked up to."