In our partnership with 1% for the Planet, we were introduced to the work of Black Outside, Inc. and their incredible lineup of healing-focused and nature-driven programming. This includes one of their outdoor, healing-centered projects, The Charles Roundtree Bloom Project.
The CR Bloom Project is an outdoor justice program for youth of incarcerated parents in San Antonio, Texas. Their team has an important vision for a world where youth have access to the resources and support they need to bloom to their full potential, and create a sense of agency to become leaders in their communities and the world.
Through communal events and culturally relevant environmental education, The Bloom Project helps young people develop healing practices by reconnecting them with nature through experiences like meditative hikes, camping, community gardening and healing circles. Founder and Director, Ki’Amber Thompson explains the importance for creating this space through the project’s slogan, “The Bloom Project slogan is “creating spaces where we can breathe.” This slogan is an affirmation, a practice, an aspirational goal, and an already realized embodiment, albeit a contingent one. The Bloom Project is creating alternative spaces and experiences in the outdoors. Our slogan is a way to succinctly describe our mission and vision of creating spaces for black, brown, and indigenous youth impacted by incarceration in San Antonio, Texas to collectively imagine and embody the worlds we want to live in.”
The Bloom Project participants are provided an opportunity to see the world beyond the carceral landscape, interact with their local environment in new ways, and learn skills that emphasize storytelling, creativity, communication, empathy, teamwork, and mindful leadership.
With multiple planned outdoor excursions and a curriculum within mentorship pods composed of local community members, the Bloom Project's youth are empowered to pursue and achieve their goals, explore environmental-based careers and cultivate a safe space for personal growth.
Although it is a relatively new program, Ki’Amber has already felt some of the impact and expansion within the youth that have chosen to participate, “At the beginning and end of each Bloom Project session we have opening and closing circles, also called healing circles or talking circles, which come from indigenous and first nations traditions. After a day of learning about environmental justice, gardening, and yoga we had our closing circle reflection which was a one-word check-in on how we were feeling. We were going around the circle with each person saying the word that described how they felt after the day's activities. One of our youth who tends to be quite moody and deals with anxiety and depression, said "happy." Happy is the word that described how she felt, and that felt like a win to me.”
Humble is proud to amplify and donate to assist in creating safe and fulfilling outdoor spaces for youth through The Charles Roundtree Bloom Project. To learn more how you can help sustain and promote change through this project check out Black Outside and The CR Bloom Project’s websites.