Shivana the Slammer (and Jammer)

“Music is a very intimate thing to share with the world and with others. Music is a connection,” Shivana believes. She took up the violin at age four, and looks forward to this summer’s first “Slam and Jam,” where she can connect with other teens.

For many of us, “slam” is a new slang term meaning a recital for poets and writers. “Jam,” of course, is a gathering of musicians. For Shivana, music and poetry help her navigate the loss of her father, who died suddenly when she was 11. Not long ago she discovered Slam and Jam, a new pilot project of the Safe Crossings Program that encourages young people to share their feelings with others. At Slam and Jam, young people recite, play music, listen, respond, and hear the stories of their peers. Sometimes deep, sometimes irreverent, you never know what’s coming, and that’s much of the fun.

The program launched in January; already Shivana and a friend want to try out a new song on the other Slammers and Jammers, hoping not only to share, but maybe make some new friends. She smiles, “What we share together is most important.”