“Telling Tales Out of School” event focuses on how students overcome challenges

ANN ARBOR, MI — The stories of two local graduates and a theatrical performance “exploring the criminalization of youth” will highlight the Student Advocacy Center’s annual fundraiser.

“Telling Tales Out of School” is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Friday, May 13, in the parking lot behind Crossroads Baptist Church, 2580 Packard St., Ann Arbor. Local activist and Ann Arbor School Board member Krystle DuPree is the emcee and Formula734 is a special musical guest.

During the event, attendees can hear the stories of Quawn Hawkins-Brown, an ACCE graduate of Ypsilanti Community Schools, and Detroit performer Tayler Jones, who will perform the story of Serenity Jackson. , a recent WAVE graduate. The event is available in person and live.

Hawkins-Brown, who began receiving mentorship through SAC three years ago, said the center has been instrumental in helping her build her confidence. He hopes sharing his story of when he started being expelled from school and how he worked to get back there will inspire others who might have followed a similar path.

“The Student Advocacy Center helped me get on the right path and get to where I am,” he said. “I just want to go back and inspire kids if they’ve been through what I’ve been through before, that they can get past it, and they can do and achieve whatever they believe in.”

Stories created at the Student Advocacy Center are crafted with community partners, some of whom will be honored at the event, including:

● Elizabeth Spring-Nichols, Program Administrator for Community Mental Health in Washtenaw County, to receive Community Advocate Award

● Charlotte Cardwell-Tillerson, Emotional Disability Educator at Ypsilanti Community Schools Achieving College and Career Education, will receive the Education Advocate Award.

The Student Advocacy Center of Michigan is a unique organization that helps vulnerable students stay in or return to school. The center offers academic mentoring, an after-school leadership program, a statewide student rights hotline, and other forms of support and advocacy resources. The center has a particular focus on foster students, homelessness, mental illness and the negative impact of harsh school discipline.

The event allows children and adults to share real personal stories of overcoming educational challenges. The personal stories explore issues such as expulsion, foster care, virtual school, the pandemic, mental health issues and grief, said Student Advocacy Center executive director Peri Stone-Palmquist.

“We’re thrilled to bring these stories to the stage,” Stone-Palmquist said. “So many stories are never told, but we believe they should be shared. These stories are going to move you.

In addition to alumni stories, the event will feature a play by EMU graduate and undergraduate theater students, led by Professor Jessica “Decky” Alexander.

Tickets are $30 and $10 for students with ID and are available online. Live access is included with every ticket to the show, which begins at 7 p.m. Participants aged 12 and over are welcome. Participants will receive Domino’s pizza, fries and soft drinks from MAIZ, Insomnia cookies and popcorn from Ypsilanti’s Dawn Keech.

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