Project Superhero is a two pronged strategy to engaging youth in activities designed to have a positive impact on their lives. The goal is to use pop culture as a positive force in personal development, utilizing the medium of comic books and the subject of superheroes as a teaching/mentoring tool to engage at-risk youth in an alternative path to antisocial behavior and all youth in literacy, civic engagement and social development through a program that promotes positive values, education and violence prevention in an easily accessible format.
It’s an unusual approach. But it’s an approach shared with successful youth programs funded in public schools and juvenile detention centers in Colorado, Rhode Island, California, Oregon and elsewhere. Prison Mindfulness Institute is one of a handful of relatively new organizations that use a model of the inner warrior to connect with youth and change their notion of power. The first battle is an internal one — with one’s own sense of powerlessness. Metaphor becomes a tool for reflection and self awareness. These programs are small and formal research data is sparse, but staff reports show decreased behavior violations and self reports through journals and interviews credit the programs with helping youth change the way they think and act.