Writin’ 4 Da Son Justin Young 9 Sep 2013 Graffiti is literally everywhere in South Florida. Bus stops, warehouses, billboards, train cars and more are easy targets for area youth to vandalize. Recently, graffiti tagging became front page news when Miami Beach police used a tazer on Israel Hernandez-Llach after pursuing him for vandalizing an abandoned building with graffiti. Hernandez died as a result of that incident, sparking widespread outcry and protests over an alleged use of excessing force by the officers. But what if Hernandez had a safe and legal venue through which to express his graffiti art? Could this tragedy have been avoided? Local woman Karyne Laurent, a single mother with a teenage son, believes so. After Laurent’s son Chris had his own brush with the law as a result of graffiti vandalism back in 2008, Laurent set out on a mission to provide a legal way for taggers to use their artistic ability in a healthy way without fear of pursuit, prosecution or worse. Laurent, along with her son, founded the “Writn’ 4 Da Son” ministry in hopes of doing just that. Writin’ 4 Da Son’s mission statement is, “To encourage talented youth to draw, tag and showcase their self expressions in the form of graffiti/street art on legitimate indoor canvases, and make available academic support to improve grades.” While similar programs have become very successful in both Miami and Palm Beach counties (see catalysthiphop.com), Broward has yet to see its own urban-style youth outreach ministry become well established. The Laurent family is hoping to see that change as soon as possible by establishing a brick-and-mortar Writn’ 4 Da Son “safe house” ministry location where kids can gather after school every day. Laurent envisions a place for Broward youth to come and participate in graffiti art, dance and hip hop, all while receiving academic guidance, homework help and, most importantly, spiritual truth. She shares, “The heart of Writn’ 4 Da Son is to be an entry door for kids to hear and receive the gospel. We certainly want to meet them where they’re at and provide a venue for them to express themselves, but we ultimately want to share Christ with them.” Beyond helping middle and high school aged kids stay out of trouble during their teen years, Laurent has a vision of helping these youth turn their artistic ability into post-secondary educational and career opportunities in the long term. She states, “Many of these kids are extremely talented artists. They can be the next graphic designers and fine artists if their talents are just directed down healthy paths instead of wasted on illegal tagging.” Writin’ 4 Da Son is currently seeking a building to call home. If you have a space that you would like to make available, or if you are interested in donating to help see that vision become a reality, visit Writin’ 4 Da Son’s crowdfunding page at rockethub.com/projects/31624-writn-4-da-son-safe-house-legal-graffiti-wall. For more information about the ministry, visit writn4dason.webs.com or facebook.com/wfds.streetart, email [email protected], or call 954-245-9487. Justin Young is a Writer/Editor for the Good News. He can be reached at [email protected] You can also follow him on Twitter at @thejustinyoung. Share this articleTweet Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply. You must be logged in to post a comment.