The MARZ Project is a free drop in digital arts and media lab where at risk youth work one on one with professionals in specific media trades. Anyone in the age range of the project can utilize our equipment and expertise to create projects of their own design including digital or studio arts, music instruments or music production, and video production. Our professional media makers have been trained, not only in how to teach their skills to this age group, but also how to effectively mentor teens and young adults struggling with behavioral challenges, mental illness, developmental delays, houselessness, and a variety of other issues.
We seek out up to date training methodologies, and train new mentors up to the standards of mentorship established with our previous and existing staff. We will soon update needed software to expand the number of media workshops we can offer off site, bringing music and video production into court appointed community schools where we find students the most in need of healthy creative outlets, job and leadership skills, and consistent mentorship.
In addition to one on one instruction and group activities, MARZ offers a series of music events featuring the work of students working in our studios. These all ages, drug and alcohol free events give our students valuable project management skills, event production, and more importantly a sense of self-worth through recognition of their creative expression which validates the hard work and honesty they’ve put into their music.
Essentially, MARZ takes kids on the edge facing all kinds of difficulties, pairs them with a caring and effective mentor, gives them access to creative tools and skills, encourages them to honestly explore their lives and the challenges they face, then we help them to make positive changes in their lives and the lives of the people around them by sharing what they have learned and created. When they can see themselves as more than a thug or a troubled kid, suddenly these young people find reasons to work for their own mental health and well-being. They find motivation to avoid criminal or violent activities and substance abuse. They find self-worth.
To paraphrase one recent MARZ participant, “[MARZ] gives kids something to do other than running the streets. It keeps me out of trouble, and I know a couple others that would be in the streets a lot more if it wasn’t for MARZ. We need more places like it in Eureka, it would help the youth a lot. It’s one of the only places I can go to put the streets behind me, I walk through the doors and there’s none of that there, there’s no drama, just people doing what they love.”
-Anonymous, December 2016