Meet Nikeisha Fortenberry, Detention Program Coordinator at the St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center

Photo Credit: Steve Tharp.

Photo Credit: Steve Tharp.

Nikeisha is the Detention Program Coordinator at the St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center.  Here’s what she has to say about her role as well as her involvement with our youth programs!

What led you to start working with the St. Louis Juvenile Detention Center?
In 2011, I graduated from college and moved back to St. Louis. I started my job search and stumbled across the Activity Aide position at the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC). The job description seemed interesting so I applied.

What does your work as a Detention Program Coordinator entail? 
I wear many hats as a Detention Program Coordinator, but essentially, my position entails supervising programs for youth at Juvenile Detention Center and youth who are referred to our Detention Alternatives Programming Unit (DAP), where community programs are provided to youth in St. Louis City.

When did first learn about Prison Performing Arts?
I met PPA in 2011. My Supervisor at the time introduced me to Rachel Tibbetts. PPA was (and still) partners with JDC to introduce the world of art to detained youth.

How does PPA programming impact youth at the STLJDC?
Many of our youth have not experienced art related programs such as improvisation, dance class, portrait painting, expressive writing, putting on sharings/performances...  the list goes on and on. PPA has granted youth amazing opportunities that may not have been afforded to them. PPA's programs have allowed many youth to blossom and express who they are through art! It's an amazing transformation to observe.

What’s a standout moment or memory you have from your work with PPA and the youth?
During the 2011, 2012 and 2019 Hip Hop Projects, I danced with the youth during the performances. I always have a great time!

Nikeisha is an amazing extension of the PPA team. We’re so thankful for her hard work and dedication to justice-involved youth! Learn more about our youth programs.