Mural Contest Winner: 'Leaving Footprints in the Community'
This winter, runaway and homeless youth programs funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau were given the chance to win the materials to paint a wall mural in their facilities. In this post, we recognize the judges' No. 1 choice.
Listening Ear would like to submit a design created by the organization’s youth group, known as YETI. YETI stands for Youth, Empowerment, Team, Initiative. The group consists of current and former clients who have been served through either our runaway and homeless youth program or our transitional living program. The youth wanted to design a mural that represented what these programs have done for them, as well as how the services provided can be beneficial to other youth in the community.
The youth chose to use the YETI footprint that symbolizes their group as the focal point of the mural. They chose to incorporate the slogan “Leaving footprints in the community” as a way of really focusing on the relationships the youth have within their community, as well as the positive benefits each youth provides to the community as a whole. Within the footprint design, the youth have chosen several symbols and words that they felt best relayed the meaning they were trying to promote. The toes each contain a symbol the youth felt represented the mission that Listening Ear as an organization tries to promote. The green light bulb represents homeless awareness. The youth felt that it was important to emphasize that there are many homeless youth that need assistance that may go unnoticed because they are “couch surfing” or living at a friend’s. They felt that it is important to recognize that these youth need assistance as much as the youth that are literally living on the streets. The symbol of the Family and Youth Services Bureau and the “LE” of Listening Ear was chosen to represent how different agencies can work together in a collaborative partnership to best service the youth in need. They felt that this also shows how the community can come together to help those in need, as well as strengthen the community as a whole. The Yin-Yang symbol was chosen to represent how services provided through the runaway and homeless youth and transitional living programs help to bring stability and balance back into the youth’s lives. The heart with a lock represents family reunification. The youth, as well as the programs offered through Listening Ear, believe that the main goal of the programs is to reunify the family and work on repairing family relationships. Although the heart is locked now, it can be opened with the right “key” of understanding and commitment to improving the damaged relationship.
The main part of the foot design displays the YETI logo, as well as a series of words the youth have put in a crossword format. The youth felt that displaying the words in this fashion shows how their meanings are intertwined with each other to provide an overall goal. They felt that these words represent what Listening Ear is about, and how its various programs can help youth in the community. Finally, the street with the little “yeti” footprints represents the journey the youth take towards bringing stability back into their lives and the process of making a positive change to improve their well-being.
YETI, Listening Ear Crisis Center, Mt. Pleasant, MI