LGBTQ+ homeless youth take center stage

Malia Santiago in YEPP's 2017 production of "Forging From Fire". (Ed Negrón/Chicago)

by Thomas Ilalaole
Medill Reports

In the basement of a Lutheran church in Lakeview is a mission of a different kind. One that brought Malia Santiago off of the streets and onto the stage.

Youth Empowerment Performance Project, or YEPP, aims to create a safe environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer youth experiencing homelessness. Through Broadway-style training, students explore their history and investigate new ways to address their struggles. Ultimately, they learn to celebrate their strengths through the process of developing a theatrical performance piece.

Photo at top: Malia Santiago in YEPP’s 2017 production of “Forging From Fire”. (Ed Negrón/Chicago)