Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Brothers Inspired to Inspire Others
Darren and Vedale are co-owners of Jazale’s Art Studio in Milwaukee. “Jazale’s is a program that at its heart gives creativity opportunities to youth and other community members. “We just see ourselves as a hub for the arts”
Question: What drives the two of you? Is it the fact that the two of you lived it, learned from it, and now are sharing it with the kids you teach?
D: We have a larger perspective of life because of how and where we grew up. We have lived the experience of severe poverty; gangs, violence, being around drugs, everything like that so we have all the stuff that you would find with a kid who had the worst social starting point.
But we’ve also been at two of the best colleges in the country, we’ve worked with the mayor, with billion-dollar companies, and we have friends who come from those communities as well. We’ve been in those environments socially and professionally, and those two combined worlds has given us a perspective that is invaluable; and is unique; one that allows us to problem solve through many lenses.
Question: What is your endgame? What do you get from all of this?
V: Less horrible stuff happening in the world. We watched robberies happen, we witnessed our mother being victimized, we were even victimized as children, but it’s not that I want anything other than a safer place to exist. And it goes way beyond me - it’s not just my kids, it’s the guy that I really don’t like; his kids. I just want a better place to exist. I never expected to live this long. It sounds crazy, but it is true for me.
D:. I always wanted to give back because I feel grateful for anybody who made a positive change in my life. And although you can’t give back directly to those people who impacted me, I think makes more sense to pay it forward. A lot of people skip the step of feeding the soul, and this feeds the soul like none other. When you can see the light spark in a kid, when you know that you’ve provided an opportunity to a kid that no one else could; that’s why I do it. So, my endgame is to go from impacting my community to impacting my city and maybe impact the state; maybe even the country. I know we are doing something good.