J-Def Peace Project Sculpture Unveiled
Teens in the After School Matters J-Def Peace Project honored the memory of a young victim of gang violence, Jeff Maldonado Jr. with a sculpture dedication ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
The ceremony included the release of monarch butterflies to symbolize the growth of teens in the program and the efforts of the community towards reducing violence.
The 8 ft. by 12 ft. sculpture is made out of painted, reclaimed wood and was inspired by the power of education to create imagination. This theme was important to instructor Jeff Abbey Maldonadoʼs son, fondly called “J-Def,” who was lost to gang violence in whose memory the J-Def Peace Project program was founded.
Teens in the program spent their summer creating the sculpture, which is on display in The Resurrection Project’s La Casa Student Resource Center, 1818 S. Paulina Ave.
The J-Def Peace Project provides an outlet for teens to express their concerns about violence through art and allows them to offer a positive solution that they hope empowers their peers and the greater community to be proactive about reducing violence in their neighborhood.