At a standing room only event last night at Revelator Coffee, recording artist Harper Grae announced the launch of the Look Up Foundation. The 501c3 is focused on curating and creating digitally innovative and artistically motivated resources for children and adolescents to utilize while grieving the absence or neglect of family members, whether that absence is due to death, incarceration, mental and/or physical abuse, mental illness, trauma or addiction.
The Foundation’s mission is to encourage and empower the next generation to overcome the negative circumstances they find themselves in, which are out of their control and not of their making. Grae drew from her own childhood experience to create the template for the organization.
“I was raised by my maternal grandparents and aunt because my parents were either unwilling or unable to be a part of my life,” Grae explained. “I know first hand the emotional whirlwind that situation can create in a child’s life and I wanted to take those negative feelings and experiences, and try to put them to good use.”
Accordingly, one of the first goals of the Foundation will be to create multi-media content for an interactive ebook, thus meeting today’s youth where they are most comfortable – in the digital world. Research has shown that there is little if any available material directed towards children who are grieving this sort of loss.
There also may be a disconnect between current medical techniques and a constantly evolving digital age. Rather than remove the child from that digital world, the Look Up Foundation will meet them where they are most comfortable by creating content especially for their devices and provide artistic, innovative, current and relatable tools they can apply to their daily lives when faced with negative situations and circumstances. The hope is to combine the online universe with artistic mediums, including music, art, creative writing and dance, to be used as a positive means of communication to reach our youth at their level.
Additionally, Harper will continue to meet with and perform for youth in facilities around the country, as she has done for Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital in Nashville. In partnership with trained professionals, the Look Up Foundation will also equip other interested artists and musicians to do the same.
“I was extremely lucky to have my grandparents and aunt who immediately stepped in when they saw something wasn’t right,” Grae said. “Based on my own research, there’s really nothing out there addressing the issues these young people face day in and day out when going through this kind of grief. I hope that the original content we are creating will help these kids.”