The Ypsi High Superhero Program is a high school youth initiative in Ypsilanti that utilizes superheroes to improve character through creative storytelling and fictional character development. Superheroes are colorful representations of our dreams, hopes, and life experiences. The journeys they endure are often inherently reflective of our own lives. Whether it’s overcoming their fears to defeat a formidable enemy, or accepting the responsibility that comes with great power, superheroes, at their core, are human. This program uses these principles and converts them into life lessons for youth. These lessons will help build character and improve confidence while providing students with a platform to creatively tell their own superhero stories, where they are the heroes.
The Ypsi High Superhero Program is currently offered as an afterschool program at Ypsilanti Community High School through Eastern Michigan University’s (EMU) Bright Futures program. The program is created and led by Jermaine Dickerson, an Ypsilanti graphic designer, illustrator, and superhero enthusiast who believes there is much reformative power not just in art and design, but also in the very idea of superheroes. Apart from this program, Dickerson has done other superhero workshops and worked closely with the city of Ypsilanti and EMU on a variety of creative projects.
In addition to purchasing diverse comics books for the program, Awesome Foundation grant funds will be used to buy graphics tablets for each student to use during the comic book creation process, T-shirts with their superhero emblems, and printed copies of their comic books.
The Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation is the Ann Arbor chapter of the Boston-based micro-philanthropic organization known as the Awesome Foundation. Each fully autonomous chapter supports awesome projects through micro-grants, usually given out monthly. These micro-grants, $1000 or the local equivalent, come out of pockets of the chapter’s “trustees” and are given on a no-strings-attached basis to people and groups working on awesome projects.