Street Stops and Mountain Tops bridges diasporic Hmong communities through artistic exchange and education to deepen cultural identities.
United States Students
The Street Stops team is planning to do presentations for schools, share our experiences and also teach with world perspectives that we hope will inspire the next generation to be influenced by our diaspora and living situations in villages around the world..
The artist on this journey with SSMT will gain more world perspectives in the way they teach and be able to grow as leaders of these stories and experiences. They can apply this to their teaching and outreach to connect to more opportunities..
Students in Southeast Asia will be able to have the self confidence to express their struggles through stories and have pride in cultural identity through the teaching artists' influence. The young people will have the skills and values of mentorship to be able to teach, share and build their own arts movement.
Street Stops and Mountain Tops (SSMT) strives to create self-expression within Hmong communities that will empower students around the world. Students will experience various art forms. Teaching artists will support students as active learners, artists, and teachers. SSMT seeks opportunities for students and teaching artists to share art as a way to imagine how identity exists within the Hmong diaspora. They will actively engage, reflect, and learn with one another in a variety of spaces, to bridge communities through arts.
Street Stops Breakdown
Info about the SSMT Trip:
Unify Trips (Ncig Teb Koom Tes)
- Annual Trips to Southeast Asia to build connection through the arts.
- 2 weeks (12-14 days) for Featured Artists and Media Specialists
- 3 weeks for Core Organizers (Extra week is to connect and build partnerships for future Unify Trips.)
Cultural Perspective – SEA Experience
- Participants will be learning the-
- Hmong experience in Southeast Asia
- Orphanage Stories
- Hill tribe Village life
- Hmong Cultural Arts and Traditions
- Learn about other Tribal people (Mien, Karen, Akha, etc)
- Southeast Asian Society (Thailand, Laos, Vietnam)
Connection Sessions – Teaching and Learning Together (Qhia thiab Kawm ua ke)
- Teaching Artists and students interact through arts
- Lesson Plan
- Will be translated into Hmong language.
- Focus on Children to Teenage students
- Incorporate performance movement based activities.
- Have dialogues about Community Issues and Arts
- 2 week trip
- +10 days of teaching.
- 1 final event.
- Other days off to explore culture and society
- Back in the day, Tou SaiK noticed the young people here in the cities are going through struggles, getting into trouble and needed an outlet. He helped create resources such as open mics, after school arts programs and dance events. He saw the positives it had on community.
- In 2009, Tou SaiK had the opportunity to travel to Thailand and visit the Hmong villages up in the mountains. He noticed their difficult living situations and many troubled youth without positive outlets. Then he made the connection that we needed to create an arts movement that would uplift a generation by collaborating with local village communities. I had that same feeling when he saw young people in Thailand performing music and practicing dance.
- In 2011, Tou SaiK visited Thailand again as part of the film We Rock Long Distance. During that trip he collaborated with 3 other Hmong musicians to create a song about Hmong unity and performed it for the local village. he realized that this was a worldwide collaboration. This was the birth of Street Stops and Mountain Tops.
- In March of 2016, Tou SaiK teamed up with Mayder Lor an influential dance teacher from Madison, WI and visited Thailand again as a site visit to build partnerships with orphanages and engage with the Hmong villages for SSMT. They were successful in teaching dance and hip hop poetry workshops to children at the orphanages and a village called Paklang in Nan province. They connected to Piyawat and Ban Dek Dee Orphanages in Chiang Mai and created a partnership to come back and teach their children arts and support them to build an arts movement.
- In December 2016, the Street Stops team will be embarking on the pilot project to Thailand.
Step 1: History and Issues we are addressing
It began with people that have traveled overseas to bridge with Hmong from other countries. Those from urban streets connected to those from villages on mountains. They have been inspired to give back through world-wide interactions. They have observed a lack or resources problems with drug use and few opportunities to uplift their living situations.
Step 2: Initiative / Purpose
The purpose of Street Stops & Mountain Tops is to nurture an environment suited to inspire and educate children within orphanages and villages to become leaders. We strive to empower Hmong students to excel in their full capabilities, build self-confidence, and make positive decisions in their daily lives to impact others.
Step 3: Outcomes / Collaboration
We encourage students for self-confidence through learning new skills. We aspire to develop leaders and teachers to continue this movement. Also to advance Artists as leaders beyond their communities, they will be able to cultivate and share their knowledge from these experiences in Hmong villages back in the United States.
Giving Back to Move Forward.
How should you contribute?
Help to provide opportunities for village students to uplift their family and communities. Our efforts are valuable but it can only go a little further with your help and contributions.