The Power of 'Identity Projects' in Launching a Life

Title

The Power of 'Identity Projects' in Launching a Life

Description

Can it be that a hobby makes a difference? That a passion for dance or raising pigeons or Shakespeare can help kids from poor families in Baltimore finish high school and get on track for a life better than the one they were born into?

The findings of a 10-year study of 150 young adults — all of them African-American, all born in the late 1980s or early 1990s into families that resided, at least for a time, in the city's public housing projects — seem to suggest exactly that.

Ninety-four percent of the young adults who were considered "on track" — working or in school — by the end of that study had what researchers call an "identity project."

It might have been an interest in music (recording rap songs, creating "beats" online and selling them for a few bucks) or playing games. It might have been a hobby, volunteering to help others, or getting involved in a club of some kind (not a gang). Whatever form it took, the "identity project" appeared to be a powerful influence.

The researchers say these activities are "life preservers [that] keep young people psychologically afloat while they resist the pull of the street."

Creator

Dan Rodricks

Publisher

The Baltimore Sun

Date

June 11, 2016

Contributor

Stephania deLuca

Type

Text

Coverage

Baltimore, Maryland

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Citation

Dan Rodricks, “The Power of 'Identity Projects' in Launching a Life,” Anti-Racism Digital Library, accessed June 4, 2020, https://sacred.omeka.net/items/show/98.