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Support What's in Store for SIMBY in 2024

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Hi, my name is Kyra Williams and I'm a multimedia artist, social entrepreneur, instructional designer, and the founder of Stories In My Backyard (SIMBY). I have a diverse creative background that includes videography, photography, journalism, podcasting, DJing, and recorded music. I’m a Gates Millennium Scholar and a two-time New York University graduate with my BFA in Recorded Music and my MFA in Digital Media Design for Learning. To further prepare as an educational leader and scholar-practitioner, I’m pursuing my Ed.D. in Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education at the University of Pennsylvania this fall. Ultimately, my creative journey inspired me to bring the life-changing arts education that I’ve experienced back to my community. The testimonials from the photo workshop that birthed SIMBY (linked above) solidified my purpose in this work as students vividly described a lack of access to these experiences and the impact of learning from people who look like them.

Stories In My Backyard (SIMBY)
Representation. Storytelling. Media Arts Education.

What is SIMBY?
Starting with photography, Stories In My Backyard (SIMBY) is a nonprofit that provides Black youth access to culturally relevant media arts education, led by Black instructors, for the social, emotional, and professional development of the next generation of Black storytellers.

Through online and in-person learning as well as educational content development, we aim to rejuvenate arts programming within formal and informal educational settings that overlook our youth’s natural investment in the media arts while providing a sense of belonging that’s missing in their current learning experiences.

79% of teachers across the United States in the 2017-2018 school year were white and “in schools where the majority of students were not white, the majority of teachers tended to be white” (National Center for Education Statistics ).

90% of the 220 Philadelphia School District schools had full-time art or music education and some had none according to a 2017 study (The Philadelphia Inquirer ).
  • 14% of these schools had access to the media arts.

How can I support what's in store for SIMBY in 2024?
In partnership with The Philadelphia School District’s TV Station (PSTV) and The Parkway Central Free Library, this fall our traveling photo exhibit SIMBY Presents: The Voices of Sisterly Affection honoring Philly's Black music herstory from Billie Holiday to Tierra Whack will be on display in front of the Library's Teen Center where we will provide culturally relevant youth photo programming led by Black photographers. This project is funded in part by Black Music City (WRTI-FM, WXPN-FM, and REC Philly), an artist grant that I received in 2021 and again in 2024.

As we work to incorporate and obtain our 501c3 with pro bono legal support, we need your help to cover operational expenses and other fees to make this program happen at the Library:

  • Software Subscriptions (Google Storage, Padlet, Zoom, Wix)
  • Teachable Learning Management System subscription to support the modules of our blending learning photo program called Exposure
  • Educational content development of culturally relevant materials to ensure students are represented in the learning materials used in our photo programming
  • Photo prints of student work during the program to put on display alongside our exhibit at the Library
  • Photo exhibit videographer, photographer, and refreshments for opening and closing Receptions at the Library
  • Incorporation and 501c3 filing fees

Watch the exhibit promo video from 2021.
Check out our outdoor photo exhibit recap from 2021.
Learn more about SIMBY and our traveling photo exhibit at our website.
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Give $20 and be a founding donor

Your donation is the start of Kyra's journey to success. Your early support inspires others to donate.

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Illustration of helping hands

Give $20 and be a founding donor

Your donation is the start of Kyra's journey to success. Your early support inspires others to donate.

Make a donation
Make a donation


Kyra Williams
Philadelphia, PA

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