How To Help Youth Find The Superhero Within

Interview with activist Jermaine Dickerson about his new amazing initiative called The Ypsi High Superhero Program.

We have already talked to Jermaine Dickerson who is an artist, graphic designer inspired by comics, and a dreamer who wants to change the world with the power of imagination. We were impressed with the work and views of Jermaine and continued to follow his achievements. When he released The Ypsi High Superhero Program helping youth find the superhero within we couldn’t help but contact him and take a new interview concerning this amazing program.

The Ypsi High Superhero Program is a high school youth initiative located in Ypsilanti, Michigan, that utilizes superheroes to improve character through creative storytelling and fictional character development. But let us hear what the creator of the program will tell us about it.

blackmattersus.com
When and how did you get an idea to create The Ypsi High Superhero Program?
Jermaine Dickerson
Since last year, I’ve been saying to myself that I wanted to start a superhero movement in my town in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I thought, for me, this would be a great way to bring positivity to my community. With society being in its current cynical state,  I want to remind others that superheroes exist; although not in color tights in the sky, they are always present in each of us.  And by channeling our unique superpowers, we can inspire positive change in ourselves, others and our communities. I especially wanted to amplify the voices of young people, so this program was perfect. And it’s only a small—but significant—part of the larger movement.
blackmattersus.com
How many people are involved in the program?
Jermaine Dickerson
The program is run through Eastern Michigan University’s Bright Futures program which also provides supplies and other resources for the students. In addition to myself, I’ve also had help from Ypsilanti Community High School’s art teacher, Lynne Settles. Ms. Settles has been a formidable advocate for the students, so her involvement in the program is a pretty big deal. Ypsilanti’s Fun4All Comics & Games has been a great partner, too. They’ve helped me collect comic donations and have even offered resources of their own.  I’m extremely thankful for all of the support.
blackmattersus.com
Is this program free for after school students?
Jermaine Dickerson
Yes, it’s free.
blackmattersus.com
Could you describe me the process? How does it work?
Jermaine Dickerson
One of the major goals of the program is to have the students create their own comic book where they are the hero. One task  is having them reflect on their fears, hopes and inspirations by encouraging self-awareness and exercising emotional intelligence. Another goal to practicing superheroism by being humble and selfless, which we’ll be doing, in part, through community service.
It’s a really character-driven program that I hope the students can apply to their real lives. The genre of superheroes is an empowering platform for many people, including myself. If there’s ever a moment when you feel darkness is consuming you, or you can’t find the strength to endure a hard moment in life,  it helps to channel the superhero. Essentially, this program is giving form to this idea by having the students bring thier character to life.
blackmattersus.com
The program is said to help students to develop their character. Is it from your own experience? Did comics help you to improve your character?
Jermaine Dickerson
Yes— specifically superheroes, though. They’ve encouraged me to be kind, forgiving, humble and grateful; just like the real superheroes in my life like my mom. I believe there is a light in us all, our superpower. How we use it determines the person we are. Remember, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Our very existence is evidence of the power we possess, because we can change a lot in the world in one lifetime.
blackmattersus.com
 Do you have something special to say to our readers about this program?
Jermaine Dickerson
I’m looking for comic donations for the program. All comics are welcome, but we’re specifically looking for the following:
– books featuring black and other people of color characters
– books written and/or drawn by black or other people of color artist
– books featuring women leads—ESPECIALLY women of color
– books by independent or self-published creators
– books that are appropriate for high school teenagers (ages 14-18)
We’re also accepting digital donations which you can email to me at [email protected]. If you have any questions about the program, feel free to call me at (586) 610-1693.
Thank you all in advance.

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