The new column in the USA today titled the Kindness Community picked the first winner of their Kindness Community Hero yesterday. Mike Ball of Whitmore Lake, Michigan was the first to receive this honor with his work in founding Lost Voices – Creative Journeys for Youth at Risk.
Ball started the foundation by realizing how much impact that artistic expression can have on youngsters. The Lost Voices program, which was founded in 2007 offers workshops for youth that has been incarcerated and those who run the risk. Many of these incarcerated youth come from families with histories of incarceration, abuse, and neglect, and have few, if any, positive relationships with adults. Programs such as Lost Voices has been proven by studies to greatly reduce the risk of children in these situations to become involved in criminal activity or be incarcerated as an adult.
Each summer, Ball, a nationally syndicated columnist and humorist, along with folk and blues musicians like Josh White, Jr., Kitty Donohoe, and “blues master” Robert Jones help the kids compose their own folks or blues music and then gives them the opportunity to perform their compositions in front of a crowd at a professionally-staged concert. Ball hopes to expand his foundation and expand his effort across the United States. The USA today award will hopefully give his foundation enough attention for some major funding sources to jump on board.
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