Director & Founder: Theodore Richards

Theodore Richards is a poet, novelist, and religious philosopher. He has received degrees from various institutions, including the University of Chicago and The California Institute of Integral Studies. He is the author of numerous books, including Creatively Maladjusted: The Wisdom Education Movement Manifesto. His literary awards the Independent Publisher Awards Gold Medal in religion and religious fiction and the Nautilus Book Awards Gold Medal. He has worked with youth on the south side of Chicago, the Bronx and Harlem, and in Oakland. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughters. You can find more information on his website,

Camp Director: Arianne Richards

Arianne Richards is a stay-home-mother of three, Rites of Passage Director at the Chicago Wisdom Project and a lover of Africana Studies and genealogy. She holds a degree from Laney College in Oakland, CA in African American Studies and is certified in Rites of Passage facilitation by Rites of Passage Journeys. Ari was born and raised on the south side of Chicago and was heavily involved in Chicago’s 90s Hip Hop sub culture. During these years she hosted a local television show focusing on Chicago Hip Hop, as well as a Hip Hop radio show on WKKC. She credits this with her love of working with youth and helping them to find their voice. She began her work with youth in Chicago and went on to work with youth in Asheville, NC; Harlem, New York; and Oakland, CA. She saw that many youth, having lost a connection to their traditions and ancestors, lack guidance when it comes to making the transition from child to young adult and she wanted to provide a safe, loving space for them to do so. In addition, she is her family historian and is currently working to bring a genealogy research component to Chicago Wisdom Project in the spirit of Sankofa – looking into ones past and learning from it in order to move forward.

Program Coordinator: Louie Bedar

Louie Bedar was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. He graduated from Chicago State University with a major in African American Studies. His fascination with how the idea of the awareness of God influences our everyday actions led Louie to study ethics at Chicago Theological Seminary where he graduated with a M.A. in Religious Studies. Louie also has an Audio Engineering degree from Full Sail. Louie is a purveyor of Mind & Spirit seeking to define universal right action. He believes unequivocally that our individual actions can have seismic effects that change our lives. Louie is a passionate educator, community activist, theologian, ethicist and paradigm shifter.

Program Assistants:
Jasmine Freeman
Sherron Garrett

Other Teachers:
Suzanne Sebold, Pottery
Julie Kase, Meditation
Derrick Caldwell, Yoga

Board of Directors:
Theodore Richards, President
Kedest Kassahun, Treasurer
Todd Hoskins, Secretary
Mollie Dowling
Sonya Dinizulu
Paul Sakol

The Chicago Wisdom Project
P.O. Box 15311
Chicago, IL 60615


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All rights reserved.