The Epigenesis Program
What is Epigenesis?
The Epigenesis Program is a 10-week youth leadership development program that works to inspire high-potential youth overcoming risk-filled environments to take on roles of leadership in their communities. Through innovative social, recreational and educational programs, we empower youth from under-resourced areas in Annapolis to create positive change in their communities.
Over the course of the summer accepted applicants participate in workshops, lead a variety of projects, and invest in their global community. After initial workshops on community leadership and social entrepreneurship, the participants identify the most pressing concerns in their communities. They then use their training to develop and implement projects that address these concerns, inspiring their communities to openly discuss innovative solutions. Projects may include: implementing a community art project, volunteering with local organizations or hosting conflict resolution seminars, ultimately these will be determined by the participants. Throughout the summer participants will continue to explore ideas through seminar-style discussions on such topics as leadership, race, social activism, globalization and economics.
Since Epigenesis focuses on community, both locally and globally, participants integrate their projects with the goal of establishing a micro-loan to support our international partner. At the end of the summer three selected participants will have the opportunity to examine the use of the micro-loan, by visiting our international partner. They will see first hand how local change can have a global impact.1 This week-long international trip is sponsored by the grants of the Epigenesis Program, at little to no cost to the participants.
Youth violence is rising at unprecedented rates within Annapolis. Recognizing this, in Fall 2007, four St. John’s College students came together with their ideas of social entrepreneurship, community forums and social projects to create The Epigenesis Program, with the vision of inspiring and supporting at-risk youths to lead their communities. Founded by Rachel Davison, Raphaela Cassandra, Joshua Becker and Jamaal Barnes, Epigenesis received its first grant from the Katherine Wasserman Davis Foundation for $10,000 in March 2008.
True change comes from within; from within the individual and within the community…The Epigenesis Program serves to promote that change.