Four years ago, one Lafayette resident embarked on a journey to help at-risk kids in the community.
Alex Johnson took her love for spoken word to transform the minds of 50 Lafayette Juvenile Detention Home students.
Johnson, as a teacher of creative writing and performance, assisted her students in writing a poem called —"Eyes on the Sun." The poem was brought to life through murals on the Martin Luther King Center and the Rickey Meche's Donut King on Willow Street.
One mural depicts a mother and son looking towards the sun and demonstrates, according to Johnson, that education and positivity can lead to success.
“We were granted the opportunity with the 24-hour Citizens Project to create a mural to give back to the community,” Johnson said.
One of her former at-risk students, Kennin Fulton, said the mural has created a peaceful place for the youth to communicate and be inspired.
“Back then, I was one of them swimming with the alligators. And now, I’m not swimming with them," said Fulton. "I’m a leader now. So every time I look at it I look like this is what I was. Now look at me."
The pictures are also inspired by moments in Johnson's life.
“The biggest moment in my life is to see our at-risk community and I mean students who are willing to pick up guns. To stop and say wait a minute let me help this person," he said.
Blaine Peltier, owner of Meche's on Willow Street said the mural is something that everyone will relate to.
“People who have never been incarcerated understand what it’s like, to a degree, to be in the mindset of the same thing over and over again. And just being a prisoner of themselves,” Peltier said.
“Time are going to get hard and times are going to get better. You just gotta learn how to go through things and fight through it,” Fulton said.
“Think about your circumstance, think about your future and think about how much of a difference it would make in your life if you have, if you desired,” Johnson.
Johnson has a poetry book out now called, ‘Poisonous Thoughts’ to help individuals heal and with self expression.
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