The SEL Blog
¡Óyeme!, which means “hear me” in Spanish, was launched in 2014 when a wave of unaccompanied minors arriving in the DC, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area made the region one of largest areas of resettlement by people fleeing violence in Central America, second only to Los Angeles. In collaboration with community partners, IStage crafted a workshop series for migrant youth to help them process their experiences and find connections in their new community through theatre activities. The sessions are designed to be developmentally appropriate, culturally-based and trauma-informed. ¡Óyeme! helps young people with adjusting to life far from family, learning a new language, fitting in with other students, and developing positive relationships. The initiative also encourages engagement and conversation across many groups in a community. Through this project, IStage and DCPS will offer ¡Óyeme! educational workshops in the form of residencies at three campuses with large immigrant populations. In addition, students at the three schools will collaborate with award-winning playwright, Miriam Gonzales, to create a new play based on the real-life experience of migrant youth. A pilot version of the play will debut in April 2022. The fully developed production will tour DCPS campuses in Fall 2023.