With the March 21 primary election results still fresh in the minds of many on the West Side, Little Village-based “Crib Collective” at their monthly open mic night allowed some future leaders of the community to express themselves poetically.

The Crib Collective, 4252 W. Cermak, is a non-profit organization for teens and young adults began in 2002.

The organization offers youth in Little Village, North Lawndale and Austin opportunities to create and run their own community programs, said the group’s Artistic Director Adam Rangel.

“This is the ‘Social Entrepreneurship Program,'” said Rangel, who goes by the stage name ‘See More Perspective’.

“We are about cultivating the skills that exist in all of the youth throughout the community.”

The organization’s staff is: Aquil Charlton, executive program director, Aisha Nunley, who handles the finances and Esmeralda Baltazar, who monitors and markets the program.

Rangel, runs the studio, movie night and open mic events. The movie night takes place every second Sunday of the month and the open mic every fourth.

Among the programs offered to teen participants is the Grant Writing Workshop, teaching students to prepare for running community-based organizations. Students learn how to draw up a grant proposal. The ‘GET YOURS’ workshop held in the studio teaches youth how to produce, record and mix their own music using Sonic Foundry’s Acid Pro and DigiDesign’s industry standard ProTools.

“We are currently recording with recent winners of our ‘GET YOURS’ open mic competition series which took place last Fall,” said Rangel. “We’re preparing for next spring’s C.D. release of the same title, ‘GET YOURS’. It is scheduled for release in June.”

Many of the young people involved in the program are students from Little Village High schools, including Eli Whitney and Farragut Career Academy.

Arts program intern Michael Carrizales is receiving co-production and co-engineering credits for his contribution to the project.

“I’ve learned a lot about production and engineering,” said 16-year-old Carrizales, a junior at Big Picture High School on the South Side. “Next year, when I take over the reigns I’m going to impart what I’ve learned to the next intern and so on. It makes me feel like I’m giving back to my community.”

Perhaps the performers of last Sunday’s open mic were preparing for this year’s competition as the Crib welcomed teens from throughout the West side to perform.

Among the highlights: poet “Sir James”, reciting a poem that sees the world from the point-of-view of a firearm titled “Mr. Gun.” The narrator ominously mocks those that “smile in his presence” and “fear his retribution”. The poem reflected the fear and anxiety highlighted by the recent shooting deaths of Englewood youth Starkesia Reed and Siretha White.

For more information about the Crib Collective, contact Esmeralda Baltazar at esme.