We’re multiplying our creative teams in order to take the good news of Jesus into more schools, tough communities and prisons in the years to come.
Vital Signs are a hip-hop collective who combine music together with powerful, personal stories of hope and transformation to communicate the Christian faith in a relevant and engaging way.
Speaking from first hand experience Vital Signs are able to deliver lessons and creative workshops around themes such as choice and consequence, drug awareness, purpose and identity, and forgiveness.
Nick started to use drugs from the age of 12 onwards, fell in with the wrong crowd, attempted suicide several times when he was 17 before having an encounter with God. After attempting to do right for several years, Nick fell back deeper into crime where his drug addiction grew worse and he began to deal drugs as well.
At age 25, Nick was invited to a Manchester church where he encountered God for a second time. This time it changed him forever and he became a Christian. Determined to connect his new found hope with others caught up in the drugs world through his music, Nick has since been working in a variety of prisons around Greater Manchester delivering a music production course for the Reflex project.
One of the three new teams joining this year is Square1, a brand new street dance crew.
Team leader Sola and former Genetik student Jess (both pictured) are currently teaching classes as part of Genetik Sessions in Sharston and Bowden, and working in schools alongside Twelve24 and Malokai.
Sola, 26, trained in theology and youth justice and worked for several years in a young offending team in London. But, he says, his heart was always to use dance to reach young people: ‘Dance offers a way for young people to express all kinds of emotions in a safe way – even negative emotions like anger and frustration. Dancing brings freedom to the body and to the spirit. It builds self-confidence and can be a powerful release.
‘I was invited into a pupil referral unit recently and although there was a lot of resistance to begin with, once we got people moving, the atmosphere totally changed in the room and they became really receptive to what we had to say. It’s a powerful thing.’
In schools, Square1 will offer both traditional classroom lessons and dance workshops. But according to Jess, the way the team works together will be just as significant: ‘It’s much more than a lesson or a dance class,’ she says. ‘We have an opportunity to share a bit of our lives with them – to pass on what we value, and to be role models to young people.’
The team’s mission is encapsulated in their name, says Sola: ‘Square1 says that everything has a beginning, and our Square1 is Jesus. Our goal as a crew is to tell young people that it’s never to late to start again – they can always go back to square one with God.’