Mo Ayodele

Hometown: Charlotte, NC
College: Arts & Sciences
Major: Mathematics and Economics
Year: 2018

Although my Cornell career has been a short one, I have pursued an interest in enacting change within a minority community. One particular journey began during Club Fest when I was approached by the president of Art Beyond Cornell. She was sharing information about the work of a small group of Cornell students who interact with local incarcerated youth. Currently, I spend one day a week within the McCormick Correctional Facility with young men between the ages of 16-21.

The objective of Art Beyond Cornell is to provide these young men with an outlet to express themselves through artwork. This encourages them to develop their creative skills and practice team building. I find that they often prefer to simply discuss life and how the past often lingers into the future. I strive to instill the notion that our mistakes tell nothing of the future.  I want the work that I do to be a testimony to the fact that the dreams of all people can flourish.

The time and emotion invested into these young men and the Art Beyond Cornell club has awakened my curiosity in social justice. Since this program has served to dismantle any erroneous beliefs I have about the juvenile criminal justice system, I find myself becoming more of an advocate for those without the ability to speak for themselves. This experience has been quite an incredible opportunity which I feel I cannot adequately capture through words alone.