In the Summer Issue of Voices—Journal of the American Academy of Psycotherapists, Kwame Scruggs, founder and director of Alchemy Inc. (Akron, OH), details his own personal story as well as the approach used at Alchemy to support black male youth. Beginning with a myth entitled The Young Giant, Scruggs explores how mythmaking can be a powerful tool for exploring personal narrative and creating vulnerability; how the space you create and the tools you use with your young people dictate the ability to build connections; and how the “I am less than” narrative becomes a destructive cycle for our students and also for ourselves.
“Myths are complex stories crafted for interpretation by each person who hears the story. Each myth is a warehouse of knowledge, a story told for its capacity to help us make sense of the world and to learn how to live more intensely within it. Unlike fairytales and folklore, which tend to have happy endings, mythical stories teach us great truths about being human. In myth, as in life, the gifts we carry for the world are often embedded in our wounds. We awaken to our gifts through the healing of those wounds,” Scruggs writes.
The article details Alchemy’s process, including a focus on the development theories developed by:
- Joseph Chilton Pearce, Magical Child
- The Akan System of Life-Cycle Development
- C.G. Jung
- Joseph Campbell and common themes in myth
According to Scruggs, “More than 1,500 students have attended our program since its inception in 2004. Eighty students currently comprise our three core groups. In 2011, our Core Group 1 graduated 26 young men; 24 entered college, most with academic or sports scholarships. To date, 10 have graduated college: two have advanced degrees, one is presently in graduate school, two will graduate with bachelor’s degrees this year, two are still actively continuing their education, and two are working and attending school in the evening. This is the power of myth.”
Published: November 07, 2017