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Youth Empowerment Initiative
Contact : Jill Osielski

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"Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” –Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.

YEI was established by the Harrisburg Institute of Messiah College toward the empowerment of students from William Penn School in Harrisburg. As a means to reach specific needs in Harrisburg communities, the program supports various initiatives encouraging William Penn students to engage the Arts . Several organizations have partnered with YEI to collaborate with Willaim Penn and Messiah College toward initiatives of empowerment: Gamut Theatre, African Bead Project and Institute for Cultural Partnerships.

Click here to find out more about the Youth Empowerment Initiative and more in the newest edition of the Harrisburg Institute Newsletter!

Gamut Theatre Group


Gamut Theatre Group is the combined Theatre Company of Popcorn Hat Players Children's Theatre and Harrisburg Shakespeare Festival. Our mission is to tell classic stories in new and exciting ways for the entertainment and enlightenment of children and adults alike.

Institute For Cultural Partnerships


The Institute for Cultural Partnerships facilitates opportunities for understanding among diverse cultures and communities.

Communities all across the nation have become increasingly diverse. These changes impact our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, places of worship and everywhere that people live, learn, work and play.Demographic changes, and the desire by many individuals to be recognized in their own terms, are factors which have contributed to this increased attention to diversity. Diversity encompasses many elements, among which are race and ethnicity, gender, language, disability, sexual orientation, age, religious affiliation, and economic means. Far too often, we see hatred and intolerance for people who are perceived to be "different" result in taunts, slurs, and "innocent" jokes, acts of prejudice and discrimination, property damage, and even violence. None of us is immune, but each of us can make a difference.

African Bead Project


The Amani Children’s Foundation has generously supplied beads from Kenya to William Penn High School in Harrisburg. The African Bead Project allows William Penn students and Messiah College students to work side by side to create beautiful pieces of jewelry to be sold. All of the proceeds from these sales are donated back to The Amani Children’s Foundation and New Life Homes Trust.

The Amani Children’s Foundation is a 501c3 organization focused on serving children who have been orphaned by AIDS in Africa. They are building bridges of understanding and financial support for these children. Parents are dying of AIDS and traditional extended family tribal structures can no longer care for them. The largest number of orphans the world has ever known now live in Africa. This challenge of unprecedented proportion has left 15 million orphans who are vulnerable to neglect, abuse, terrorism, and eventually to getting AIDS themselves.





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