On July 22nd, five teens and staff from Neu-Life led a group of students from other sites on a tour of black-owned businesses in Milwaukee. The route, itinerary and information for the experience was developed throughout spring and summer by youth tour leaders at the YWIC, with support from experienced tour guide, Adam Carr. They used what they knew as a foundation and built upon it through experiences, interviews and research — even the theme for the tour was generated during a field trip.
The final tour route includes stops at Alice’s Garden, Bronzeville Collective MKE, Sherman Phoenix and an original interactive activity that illustrates cooperative economics. Moving forward, we’re hoping to deliver the tour to more youth, as well as adult groups. Carr has been in conversation with Cross Lutheran about the potential of adapting the tour for their senior group, which would also include opportunities for intergenerational dialogue.
An aspirational goal is turning the tour into a small business, potentially attached to other developments/organizations in the neighborhood. This could be a source of income for Neu-Life youth, as well as an authentic, deep-rooted way for interested folks to learn about the neighborhood
“Working with Neu-Life youth and young adults was a wonderful experience," says Carr. "The whole process was propelled by their curiosity and insights, which pushed me to think deeper and engage with questions that pushed my limits." During the tour, Carr said exactly zero words, allowing the youth to lead the entire tour. "They rose to the occasion and offered a beautiful learning experience within their own community."