Spirit Awakening Foundation, founded by actress/author and activist Akuyoe Graham, is a nonprofit organization created to work with young people, inspiring them to find their voice and to generate and produce inspirational stories of transformation for the screen, stage and television.
Graham went through challenging times as a teen trying to find her own voice. To work through her issues, she wrote the one-woman play, “Spirit Awakening.”
“That was the vehicle I used to come back to center, come back to myself,” says Graham. “During my teenage years, my challenge was more internalized about liking myself.”
After performing “Spirit Awakening” at various venues, Graham, who is working to bring her one-woman show to the big screen, said young people began to take notice.
“Children and teens responded to the piece,” says Graham, a tribal princess in her native Ghana. “They would ask if they could write their stories. I wanted to use the power of story, the power of reflecting on themselves. I was just like them. It was about my own self-discovery and query into who I was. I wanted to find my place in the world and be comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t want to apologize for who I was. Working through it led to a great spiritual understanding. I’m committed to having the voices of these students heard.”
The Spirit Awakening Foundation will present its fourth annual “Voices of the Unheard: Epiphany” benefit performance at 3 p.m., Sat., Dec. 3, at The Lost Studio Theatre, 130 S. La Brea Ave., in Los Angeles.
The show will highlight inspiring works written by 30 young people who live or formerly resided in probation camps within the juvenile justice system.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward satellite writing programs in Culver City, East L.A., South Central and Lancaster, beginning January 2012.
“Formerly detained youth or foster youth in the juvenile and justice system will have a place to go for mentoring, self-growth and self-awareness, writing courses, job referrals, peer mentorships,” says Graham, who will soon be seen in the upcoming independent films “Switchboard,” “Faith and Dreams,” and “Guardian of Eden.”
The evening’s special guests include: Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith (founder and spiritual director of Agape International Spiritual Center), Frances Fisher (“Titanic”), Stephani Victor (actress/athlete) and Debra Wilson (Mad TV).
Tickets are $25 (for children, teens, students and seniors with ID); $50 general seating and $100 (pre-event reception with the artists at 2 p.m.) and are available for purchase at www.brownpapertickets.com.