Ocean of Dreams Fundraiser

The following fundraiser is intended to benefit youth of color. Thank you for your support!

OUR GOAL is to raise $1,000 for 5 youth to experience a 4-night #KnowYourWorth Personal Development Retreat in upstate NY. Learn more below.

This fundraiser supports America's #BlackLivesMatter movement, opposing systemic racism and police brutality, specifically against Black Americans. It also supports health education and youth empowerment.

A donation from you will go directly to JAIA (Just As I Am) YOUth Empowerment. JAIA is a non-profit organization in the New York/New Jersey area for the personal and spiritual development of youth and young adults. Through the teachings of 'universal life principles' and mindfulness techniques along with interactive workshops of social-emotional learning, JAIA encourages mental health and leadership in a safe, secure, and accepting environment for young people. JAIA's workshops provide profound benefits to the communities they serve by targeting critical gaps within the education system.

Excerpt from JAIA:
#KnowYourWorth Personal & Spiritual Development 4 Day Retreat

"Youth from underinvested communities often experience a confluence of -isms and trauma, without the necessary access to resources to help heal. Often victims of bullying, intimate and interpersonal violence, and hate crimes, youth find themselves confounded by deep-level trauma as a result of these distressing life events, further leading to social withdrawal, isolation, depression, and self-harm. 

For the past 5 years, it has been upstate NY at StonyPoint Retreat Center where youth are able to unveil and acknowledge their fears, frustration, guilt, anger, and shame. Our retreat has enabled youth to: safely process the impact of past trauma; deepen their spiritual practices for personal grounding; and gain tools and skills to make self-honoring choices, rebuild, hope, confidence, self-esteem and self-efficacy; meet the challenges of family dynamics, personal growth, peer relationships, and the attainment of educational and career goals.  

These spaces, at no charge to youth,  offer them the much needed, supportive ecosystem for healing as well as safely addressing personal life challenges and experiences that they otherwise had to deal with privately. 
As we move through the BLM movement and establish a new normal residue of Covid-19, our youth more than ever need a place to process the anger, hope, frustrations, and grief that people of color can no longer afford to suppress. Now more than ever we need to be able to offer the #KnowYourWorth retreat as we remind our youth that self-care is paramount to effective and conscious leadership.
Please support youth in knowing their worth today!"

Photos from JAIA's #KnowYourWorth Retreat:

~Testimonials from JAIA's #KnowYourWorth Retreat:
“I knew this was going to be the place where I would free myself, heal, and leave with a larger sense of awareness. And this all happened; except, I not only left with awareness but I also left knowing that I have gained people in my life that want to see me succeed in my healing and growing process and support me, which is absolutely amazing.”  
- S. U.  age 16 
“Last year I left home and ended up moving from place to place for 8 months. I was struggling with depression and anxiety which caused small mental breakdowns and panic attacks while trying to take care of my day to day. This years retreat helped me face my situation and pay close attention to the relationships I valued. I also worked on coming to terms with my relationship with my mom.” 
- A. E. age 18 
“I became aware of the chaos I would create for myself, became aware of why, and made an effort to forgive. Stressing my failures will not help me in overcoming those faults. I need to accept who I am and know that If I give myself the support and love I deserve, I'll be able to be the best me.”  
- S. R.  age 16 
 “What left an impression on me was letting the negativity go. Throughout the day I told myself "no" "can't" and "not" so much that I begin to believe I am inadequate. JAIA helped me turn the negative self-talk into positive ones. I found many different ways to release my thoughts as well. This is the reason the retreat is much needed and important.” 
- L.S. age 19
was founded by Gena Jefferson, an educator, interfaith minister, psychotherapist, social worker, and life coach with over 25 years of experience in the NYC public school system. JAIA's work greatly impacts the Black community however, it is open to all walks of life. This organization is trusted, transparent, and truly invested in helping youth.
^JAIA Founder Gena Jefferson with some of JAIA's youth^

^BLM protesters at a rally^
S.O.U.L.E., who has worked with JAIA before, is a Poetic Emcee, Activist, and Film and Media student from Montclair, NJ. He collaborated with singer/songwriter and fellow activist, Rostafa, and producers Adrien Smith and Sonny Bailey-Lemansky, to create the song "Ocean of Dreams". The song and video not only speak to the fight against systemic racism in America, but also to an unwavering will to fulfill one's dreams despite hardship. It represents the individual dreams of all people and the efforts of those who choose to unite to fight for a shared dream, one of equality and justice for all.

Please enjoy "Ocean of Dreams" and Thank You for your generosity in making a donation to the fundraiser.

The song is available for streaming on all platforms:
It was produced by Adrian Smith of SGM and Sonny Bailey-Lemansky.

Please visit:
souleisfree.com to learn more about S.O.U.L.E.
jaiayouth.org to learn more about JAIA
Lastly, please enjoy the video at the following link which may help to further demonstrate some of JAIA's work: https://youtu.be/tNLwD_RYqPo 

*Fun fact* - The song Ocean of Dreams was written and recorded in 2017 and the video was sporadically filmed up until 2020 in Asbury Park, NJ, the final location of the video's production.

"Ocean of Dreams represents the dreams of all people together as an ocean, because despite our differences we are all connected. I believe in JAIA because I believe the type of work they do has great impact on young people."

#souleisfree #StepForwardArtistry #SouleRecords

Social Media (Instagram):
JAIA - @jaiayouthempowerment
S.O.U.L.E. - @souleisfree
Rostafa - @rostafa101


Albert Antomattei
Montclair, NJ
Just As I Am Youth Empowerment Inc
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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