Donda’s House, Inc. is a new non-profit organization established to honor the educational legacy of Dr. Donda West, the mother of Kanye West. It will offer arts and literature experiences that transform youth, working with the ARK of St. Sabina. The pilot youth education and training program called “Got Bars” is accepting applications right now.
Kanye West said, “My mom spent her life as an educator and I am happy that Donda’s House can pick up her torch and honor her life’s mission.”
Donda’s House co-founder and Assistant Director Che Rhymefest Smith who was a candidate for Alderman in the 20th Ward in 2011, said, “I am so happy to launch “Got Bars” to honor Kanye West’s mother’s memory and to fulfill one of my Aldermanic campaign goals. “Got Bars” will change our youth musically, get them healthy and keep them busy in a creative, peaceful environment. I know it will be an even stronger program because of our partnership with the ARK of St. Sabina.”
St. Sabina’s pastor Father Michael Pfleger said, “We are honored to partner with Donda’s House for this important new program. It complements our existing youth programs and will encourage more people to come to a creative safe haven here at Saint Sabina.”
The “Got Bars” program invites 15 – 24 year olds to apply for participation. In this program, participants will
- create an original written piece that will be recorded or published and performed.
- improve his/her physical health through exercise and nutrition.
- learn life-skills (e.g. etiquette training, goal–setting, media literacy, etc.)
Young people interested in applying for the program can visit the Donda’s House website dondashouse.com for an online application, or visit The ARK of St. Sabina located at 7800 S. Racine for a paper application.
Applications will be accepted Tuesday, July 16 through Friday, August 2, 2013. Applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 24. All applicants will be notified on Monday, August 5, 2013. The pilot program will run from August – October of this year.
Dr. Donda West believed that arts instruction improves a child’s analytical and creative capacity. This is the blueprint for success for the “Got Bars” program.
Donda’s House Board of Directors includes Kanye West, Dr. Garrard McClendon, Exavier Pope, Julie Kerouac and Olivia Gil-Guevarra. The Executive Director is Donnie Smith and the Assistant Director is former 20th Ward Aldermanic candidate Che “Rhymefest” Smith.
The ARK is a community youth center located on the St. Sabina campus. It was created to nurture and develop the gifts, skills, and spirit of community youth by providing a safe supportive environment in which youth can prosper and excel. The center was named ‘The ARK” to symbolize Rev. Michael L. Pfleger’s intent for it to be a safe haven for youth to escape from the storms of the world and prepare for a better life. The ARK services between 70 – 120 youth each week..