This article aims to illuminate the perceptions of a pilot grief- and trauma-informed empowerment arts summer program for adolescents who lived in an at-risk Southern, urban neighborhood identified by the city in question as having a high percentage of street violence. The study it is based on was grounded in qualitative techniques, which consisted of focus groups and interviews. All focus groups and interviews were analyzed for themes to determine common experiences among adolescent participants and instructors responsible for implementing the curriculum. Responses from 18 African American adolescents and four instructors were included in the data analysis. Themes from focus groups and interview results were explored. Some themes included positive rapport with instructors, resistance to the psychosocial components of the program, satisfaction with changes made midway through the program’s implementation, and greater levels of respect and transparency.



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