Leila Steinberg founded AIM in 1998. Since that time, AIM has grown from a volunteer effort into an organization with paid staff members, expanding Steinberg's Heart Education programs and their reach in the community. AIM puts these programs into environments where they are most needed. Inner-city youth must have alternative ways to experience and envision their lives. Steinberg's writing and performance workshops give at-risk youth an outlet for their pain, frustration and rage. Her curriculum engages the heart to reach young people in a way they can relate to.
AIM programs confront juvenile crime and victimization, drug abuse and gang violence and other pressing issues facing at-risk youth in a workshop format that combines creative arts with an open dialogue. We encourage participants to take responsibility for their actions and get in touch with their emotions. Steinberg helps them connect with their hearts and turn anger and pain into creativity.
AIM promotes artistic expression as a way to handle problems as opposed to choosing violence, drugs or other forms of escape. As the program facilitator, Steinberg sees confronting pain as the best way to move past it. She believes self-awareness is a key to making better choices.
Leila Steinberg is an artist and community organizer who began working with youth twenty years ago in the San Francisco Bay area. As the daughter of a criminal defense attorney, she grew up surrounded by the workings of the justice system and took a front row seat at the personal tragedies and socio-economic pressures that turn so many at-risk youths into hardened felons.
Steinberg is committed to helping people who fall through the cracks of society. In 1995 she began a series of specialized programs for youth within the juvenile justice system and those residing in residential treatment facilities. As hip-hop music became the expression of today's youth, Steinberg began training artists to develop voices powerful enough to reach a generation. While conducting poetry workshops in Northern California, she met Tupac Shakur and he became a regular participant in her class. They shared a vision of developing a space where each artist in attendance is encouraged, inspired and motivated to address social change in their work. Tupac referred to Leila as the "bow" and himself as the "arrow."
Ms. Steinberg's background in the arts is as a performer and a businesswoman. She started working with Tupac in 1989 and was his first manager. He went on to become one of the most famous rap artists in the world and has remained so even after his death in 1996. Tupac Shakur is now an icon. His legacy as the most beloved and influential rapper of all time lives on in the hearts and minds of millions of young people.
The poems published posthumously in The Rose That Grew From Concrete, were written by Tupac while he attended Steinberg's workshop. He entrusted her with original copies of his work to safe-keep. Along with Tupac's mother, Afeni, Leila was instrumental in getting them published. Steinberg was Co-Executive Producer of the spoken-word album of the same name, released on Interscope Records, with performances by Quincy Jones, Run D.M.C. and Danny Glover. She also produced and appears in the Tupac documentary, "Thug Angel," with Executive Producer Quincy Jones III.
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