Entrepreneur Column: Fabulous Free Fun

This weekly column is inspired by Tacoma Entrepreneur Network (TEN). TEN is an intercollegiate network of members in Tacoma designed to explore and build entrepreneurial careers, launched in 2011 by Professor Lynnette Claire. Entrepreneurship uses working knowledge from every background of study. For those who haven’t found their niche yet, are uncertain about what the future holds, or have a multitude of skills and nowhere to apply them, entrepreneurship could be the answer.

Fab-5 is a grassroots non-profit organization that provides relevant arts education to young people throughout the greater Pierce County area. Their mission is to empower young people to become creative leaders who inspire change in their surroundings.
Kenji Hamai gave all the facts behind why everyone should check out the Fabitat over the summer.

• What goes on at Fab-5?
“As an organization, we offer a variety of programs including: our drop in community center FABITAT, a ten week intensive series of workshops called The LIFE Program, Fab-5 Radio on KUPS and many other satellite workshops and community projects / performances. Our core programs are also offered for free to ensure accessibility to everyone.”

• What spurred its creation?
“Fab-5 was initially started in 2000 by a group of PLU students in response to a lack of relevant creative outlets and resources for young people in Pierce County. The organization was initially formed around hosting large Breakdance Battles at PLU (many of which drew over 2000 people from around the world) and transformed over the years into an arts education focused mission.
At the core of all of this work was providing quality, relevant and empowering opportunities for young people to actualize their creative potentials and build a supportive community around them.”

• What are the studio hours and why were those categories created?
“Studio hours at Fabitat run from 4-9 p.m. on Tuesdays—Fridays. Throughout the school year (generally) we offer free classes in Breakdancing, DJing & Graffiti Art. These classes evolved out of our organization’s history within the local Hip-Hop community, but now also encompass many other forms of art as well.”

•What can students look forward to at Fabitat?
“Students can look forward to accessing free arts materials, using dance space, computers (for art, or professional purposes—ie. no games) and music studio equipment. We also have supportive adult staff who’ll help new participants get engaged with the program and started on their own personal projects.
Additionally, young people who participate in the program are from all over the Greater Tacoma Area, so new participants can look forward to meeting with new people who share common interests and expanding their creative network.”

•What is the 2014 LIFE Program and how did it begin?
“Similar to the organization, The LIFE Program began out of wanting to provide relevant creative resources to young people in the Tacoma / Pierce County Area. In addition to throwing events, Fab-5’s founders wanted to create something that had longer lasting impact and focused on passing down knowledge to younger generations. What spawned out of that was the first LIFE Program in 2005, where young people gathered for various workshops and worked together to throw an event at the end of the program.
2014’s LIFE Program isn’t too much different. We’re offering classes in Music, Visual Arts, & Dance from 11-3 p.m. at Urban Grace Church. We provide a free lunch and do some community building exercises with the intent of giving our participants the chance to create their own community event/celebration at the end of the program. Every year is different… so we will be doing something new and exciting, though that is yet to be determined!”

•How do you select community partners?
“As a small grassroots organization, we recognize that we can’t provide our young people with everything they need—nor can we as a community raise our young people to be successful alone. That’s why we’re extremely focused on developing community partnerships that not only broaden the types of programs we’re able to offer our young people, but also provide the opportunity for our young people to connect with other resources, people and ideas that will support them in their futures.
The most important things to us when selecting partners are that we share a similar mission and vision for the community, and that we’re going to do something great!”

•Can Puget Sound students volunteer with Fab-5?
“Of course! We do have a volunteer application process; however, we’re always open and excited to connect with other young people who share a similar passion and vision for our community.”

• What difference have you seen Fabitat make in the community?
“Our biggest impact is providing an accessible, creative and alternative resource for young people in Tacoma. Unfortunately, there are very few resources like ours (especially offering free programming) when creative outlets should be something that is available to our young people without question.”

• What else is happening this summer?
“Well, since we’re ending LIFE 2014 at the end of June, it’s yet to be fully decided. Every year we host / participate in many different festivals, community projects, murals, conferences —and we’re looking at doing the same this Summer. Our plan at the moment is to see what our young people are eager to do and build off of that energy to plan some amazing events and programs. Definitely stay posted!”
Fabitat is located on 1316 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. For more info, check out fab-5.org