Congratulations to SAY Sí Artistic | Executive Director, Jon Hinojosa, whose commentary was featured in the San Antonio Express News’ 150 Year Anniversary Issue. See commentary below. Original can be found at:

Vibrant and bright: That is what the future looks like for San Antonio, our country and the world. Why? Because it will be led by our youth — a creative, tech-savvy generation.

In my organization, SAY Sí, we empower youth to be creative leaders. We call our work creative youth development, as opposed to arts education or just youth development. Our work is based on constructivist or experiential learning, but it all comes down to this: Their perspectives, concerns and ideas are valuable. We listen and allow our students to inform and permeate our programs. What does that mean? It means we give them a voice and let them take the lead. And guess what — they never let us down.

I also believe and trust that creativity will play a huge role in our future as it is embedded and converges in all areas of thinking, and our youth must embrace this fact. Yes, our future will be filled with science, technology, engineering and math-focused professions. I’m not making an argument for left brain vs. right brain; I look at it as a whole-brain approach. Many believe that the synapses, which allow you to use your whole brain, is where creativity takes root. A crucial part of the creative process is bringing two opposites together in your mind, working to hold them together while considering their relationship and similarities. It is this interplay when creating that something new and useful happens. The arts activate the creativity that all areas of study need in order to innovate. Enabling youth to discover creative thinking will allow them to implement it for the betterment of society.

The iGeneration, post-millennials, or what I call our youth, utilize digital media and technology as a foundation for how they have learned and will continue to learn and create. San Antonio may seem like a tiny dot in a big state in the United States, but it’s a tiny dot that can influence social and cultural change. It’s a place that is a catalyst for innovation and advancement. Let’s all envision a country and a world where all of these amazing tiny creative dots grow and unite. Giving us the opportunity to connect: Learn from each other; work with each other; share knowledge and ultimately change indifference, apathy, and strengthen community. Where the voiceless have a voice and creative young leaders can convene to curate ideas and solutions for the social and economic issues facing our community. Yes, I believe our future will be vibrant and bright because it will be filled with global citizens who have learned creative ways to deal with life’s many obstacles. These seers and doers will forge a new future for whatever they will be calling their “youth.”

Jon Hinojosa, 52, is an artist masquerading as an arts administrator, and works with a creative team to run SAY Sí, a national model, creative youth-development organization. Email him at

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