vince staples launched a youth program in his home town

'I want to be able to be one of the people that reinforces the fact that we matter just as much as the next person.'

by i-D Staff and Kasumi Borczyk
16 June 2016, 1:55pm

Vince Staples — the rapper and world class Yelp reviewer— returned home to his childhood neighborhood of Ramona Park in Long Beach this week to do some considerable good. He was there to help announce the launch of a new youth program that will teach high school kids practical skills that could lead to future employment. The program, called the Youth Institute, will take place over the summer vacation and focus on filmmaking, graphic design, music production, 3D printing, and product design. It was developed to not only help underprivileged youth access a wave of career prospects, but develop vital social and emotional skills. Staples donated an unspecified amount to fund the program.

Fans of the rapper would be familiar with Vince's relationship with his community; he regularly drops mention of it in his work. On "Norf Norf" he speaks candidly of his childhood in Ramona Park and the need to steer the youth of Long Beach in the right direction through education. He regularly details how flaws in the current education system feed into national school dropout rate across his own social media as well as on CNN.

During a press conference for the Youth Institute he expanded on his motivations: "What I can say is, living over here my entire life, I've never had an opportunity given to me from the area, only examples of how to mess up, and what I didn't want to do."

Staples also stressed the significance the program could potentially have for the psyche of disadvantaged youths in the area. "I want to be able to be one of the people that reinforces the fact that we matter just as much as the next person," he said. "That's actually the biggest thing I can do for this community."


Text Kasumi Borczyk

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Vince Staples
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youth programs