Hero of the Week! 8/14/20
This is Dwight and Marquis Gilbert, cousins and Co-Founders of H2O Community Development Corporation. Our youth programs run the spectrum, teaching things like literacy, mentoring, or the arts
This week, we want to share an amazing program and the story of the two men who built it.
H2O Community Development Corporation is a youth development organization using digital arts to explore careers and inspire entrepreneurship combining the power of music, media, and technology. Their targeted groups are 3rd grade through young adult in the greater Milwaukee area and programs include digital music production, songwriting and recording, video making, publishing, graphic design, and apparel making.
H2O was started around 2007 as many dreams often are; a simple conversation on a couch. Dwight and Marquis were both in the music industry, doing some night life work or production with artists but they wanted something more fulfilling. They had always wanted to mentor kids and were already volunteering or doing work at local shelters... why not combine the passion of music and mentoring?
They put together some program ideas and pitched it to Arts @ Large. They got some pilot programs and from there, the rest is history!
H2O kept snowballing, growing from a couple clients to a handful. They got introduced into the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) system and it just kept going! They've even expanded outside of Milwaukee, having done programs in the Waukesha and Racine School Districts!
H2O was even the recipient of the MPS SOAR Award for "After School Program of the Year" in 2014 and it's not hard to see why!
The SSNC and H2O have been partners in some capacity or another since 2009. The programming started with simple music production and song making. It evolved into teaching kids audio / visual skills, writing, performance, and the power of positive community work.
Some projects may have students work on a specific community concept like bullying or the importance of water conservation. It allows kids to learn technical skills, community issues, all while having a blast!
Recently our kids learned about the power of a "brand". They learned about what goes into the process of creating one. Graphic design on how to create a logo or the process of working with vinyl to put it on shirts or shoes. They even made the SSNC a new logo!
We want to thank Dwight and Marquis for all they've done with us over the years and for what they do for youths all around Milwaukee. They embraced a dream, using their passions to help out kids in their community. We're incredibly grateful for their partnership and we commend them for their commitment to the community. That's why they are our... HEROES OF THE WEEK!