Too many DC youth experience trauma and violence in their daily lives – and too few are equipped to do something about it. Using the power of the arts, OCU builds resilient, compassionate young leaders, empowering them to break the cycle of violence and become positive forces for change. Its flagship program, Fly by Light, utilizes an intensive, multi-layered arts curriculum – including after-school workshops, weekend field trips, healing nature retreats, violence prevention events, and citywide art showcases – to build participants’ social and emotional competencies. Youth learn to express themselves creatively and nonviolently, gaining lifelong skills to better cope with trauma, peacefully resolve conflicts, and build healthy relationships. Many become “ambassadors,” organizing open mic nights, performances, and workshops for their peers and for younger children. These creative young minds imagine a new, more hopeful reality.