Kessler-Keener Foundation: By bringing together peoples of diverse cultural backgrounds we are creating a new story in Idaho of respect, understanding, friendship and change.
We expand our reach of cross-cultural education through arts literacy and experiential interaction by hosting Native non-Native conferences and weekend retreats, by bringing together adult mentors and youth to engage in the Mentor Artists Playwrights Project and through the Cultural MAPPing Workshop, a place for safe discussion.
We give voice to those who are voiceless. Our programming in marginalized communities creates new leadership, new voices, new energy and hope.
In spite of many generations of effective and innovative activism in the realms of social justice and human rights, we still live in a deeply divided country and world. Our Bridging Pathways program builds understanding and dialog through cross-cultural events, presentations, and informal gatherings.
By volunteering in our programming on Duck Valley Reservation dominant culture persons change their pre-conceptions and prejudices about Natives as we learn truth about Euro incursion in Native lands and peoples. How have Native cultures survived incursion and persecution? How have Native persons kept their way of life, their rituals and existence on their lands? How does land give meaning to their lives?
Let us know if you want information about this work: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We don’t expect wounds that formed over generations to be healed during a weekend retreat or evening discussion panel, but we do believe that, through perseverance, our work makes a difference in bringing people of different cultural backgrounds together to tell their stories. We increase respect and human connection by providing safe spaces, lively discussion, and good food.
As we seek a more just world where all persons are valued, we have great hope in the next generation. Today’s youth grow up more aware of diversity and more open to new ways of solving old problems. Our youth-centric programs and partnerships elevate the voices of young people, honoring their experiences and insights.
We regularly collaborate with Thomas Dean Kellogg, from Los Angeles. His Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (MAPP) leads teens on a creative journey to find their voices through writing one-act plays. Professional actors read the plays in a Performance Readings that honors the writers’ work in front of audiences including their family and community.
I look forward to continuing to work with MAPP as a Mentor and Actor and in whatever capacity my talents may benefit. As we already know, MAPP is making a significant difference in the lives of young people, teenagers, who have felt excluded and without a voice. It is also clear that this work can be deeply valuable for multi-generational and multicultural groups as well as the young artists. The exercises and inquiry provide a launch pad for surprising conversations and for connecting with and having compassion for each other.
Cultural MAPPing Workshop
The MAPP workshop has crucial impact for this time in our society. It is important we come together from many walks of life, from many different cultures and individual experiences, and get to know one another better. For those who have participated in the past, you know the powerful connections we can make when, together, we sit in creativity.
I can’t recommend this workshop highly enough. We were fortunate to have Thomas Kellogg lead one at our diversity summit in November and there were rave reviews. Anyone in Boise interested in diversity and growing authentic connection to others should check out the details for these FREE events.
Angeli Weller, Executive in Residence
Director, Responsible Business Initiative Boise State University
Cultural MAPPing provided me with a powerful, interactive opportunity to consider a variety of my cultural identities and how those identities affect how I connect with other people. I left the workshop amazed by how quickly 2.5 hours goes by when one is surrounded by open-hearted people participating in thought-provoking activities and discussion. I also left with a heightened awareness of how our identities can help us expand our abilities to interact with others in thoughtful ways.
Professor Sara Fry, Boise State University, College of Education
Hear from those motivated by faith to take extraordinary actions for human rights and justice.
An Extraordinary Witness event amplifies the voice of an exceptional individual in the fields of social justice and human rights. Cooperating with other groups, we bring nationally and internationally recognized figures to Boise for an energizing and inspirational lecture. We sometimes offer workshops, receptions, and discussions in conjunction with lectures.
This has been our longest running effort, beginning with the forming of Kessler-Keener Foundation in 1997 (then called Kessler-Keener Lectures). Many in the Boise community remember when civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams or Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel spoke to packed lecture halls.
It can be a transformative experience to see an Extraordinary Witness in person. Their compassion, courage, and perseverance invoke our highest values. We hope that these events awaken a sense of social responsibility in audiences, inspiring them to work towards a more just and equal society.