We had the good fortune of connecting with Syd Stewart and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Syd, how does your business help the community?

Better Youth is a creative youth development agency for opportunity youth ages 14-24. We serve and classify opportunity youth as serve foster, former foster (TAY), homeless and low-income youth. Our mission is to validate young people by developing life skills through mentoring and media arts training. Our vision is to activate a community of vulnerable youth who are equipped for personal, academic, and career pathways. We provide youth with soft and hard skills training, access to technology, career preparation, and resources to become successful in the creative economy. Our goal is to close the digital divide for vulnerable youth and our training and our workforce development initiative provide work-based learning opportunities and industry-recognized certifications. We offer trauma-informed mentoring through our qualified staff, professional mentors, certified instructors, and dedicated volunteers to maintain healthy relationships with youth who struggle with long-term alliances. We deploy strength-based training to cultivate a millennial workforce that builds long-term power and sustainability for the local community.

For more information on Better Youth Inc., visit: www.betteryouth.org

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a poet, I write and make films about…

Black, brown, yellow, tan and red people
Rainbow lies and sunshine
Faith and fear
Flesh and bone
Life in the shadow of death
The bread of prosperity and
The crumbs of poverty
Love, pain, shame, and joy
Inherent prejudice / innate compassion
The power of the oppressed / the freedom to be
Underdog champions
The brave / the bold beings
The forgotten and remembered
I give birth to characters that fight on their feet
On bended knee or their backs
Who speak in dialects, languages and tongues
With the spirit of a shero, a hero or regular Joe
Who rise from ashes / the gutter or ghetto
To find beauty

I create worlds with
Re-imagined realities / possibilities
Ripe with raw honesty
Uncomfortable truths
Begging for answers to problems
We all bury within our hearts
But find them in our shared souls
Our commonalities / our wonderful differences

I tell stories that unite / make us cry
And make us wonder why not

I am most proud of a blank page that I can make sing
I am excited about the imaginations of young people
I have walked as a docent in the wilderness of struggle
Was fed by ravens when I was homeless
Sipped tea from brooks and rivers with other straving artists
Where we hid in the cleft of the rock until it was time

A loss is just a win turned inside out
You can choose to be a warrior or a worrier
Adversity is a necessity / a coefficient in the formula
for success / do the math / live long and multiply

When you are built to win you never worry
So be anxious for nothing except the sun

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My best friend Camille hits the tarmac at 5pm on a Thursday…..

Day one…
She grabs a Lyft The Village in Woodland Hills to meet me at Joey.
They have the best lettuce lettuce wraps. From there we pop over to grab
some cupcakes from Susie Cakes.

Day Two (Friday)
The Broad Museum and the Santa Monica Beach to shop and chillax.
We make it to happy hour at The Dime on Fairfax to ball out on a baby boss budget.

Day Three (Saturday)
A Mani / Pedi at Pretty as Me in Carson and Lunch at Simply Wholesome in Inglewood

Day Four (Sunday)
We sleep in and watch church online. Then we DIY Brunch with La Marco Prosecco & OJ. (Jesus turned water to wine)
We get Grubhub to deliver California Fish Grill. We binge watch Wanda Vison on Disney+.

Day Five (Monday)
We do a brown bag to go lunch @ Chik-fil-A on Jefferson in Culver City. (The chicken strips w/polynesian sauce is lit ).
We jet to LAX…until we meet again.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I could thank my mother who deals with my incessant need to be an artits and entrepreneur, the youth I serve who work tirelessly to improve their lives and the lives of their peers, I could thank all the mentors who volunteer their time to support Better Youth and all its endeavors but I wanna give a shout out to God.

Without God, who is the best bff you will ever had, I would have given up on my calling, my purpose and my dream.
He sustains me when my days seem dark so that my light can shine in the morning. Withought God, I am nothing because God is Love and without love how can you serve and inspire others?

Love never fails.
It endures all things.

Website: www.sydsteword.com

Instagram: @sydsteword

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/sydsteword

Twitter: @sydsteword

Other: To purchase a copy of my poetry collection Babylon Graffiti book please visit: https://www.zeitgeist-press.com

Image Credits
UN Foundation Better Crew

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