Juvenile Justice & Workforce Development Leaders Discuss CYD

Last week the Creative Youth Development National Partnership hosted a panel of cross-sector leaders at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, California to discuss creative youth development and cross-sector partnerships. Panelists included:

Cynthia Campoy Brophy, Executive Director at artworxLA and member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s CYD Steering Committee, moderated the discussion.

Approximately 50 CYD practitioners and stakeholders from Southern California attended the session. The purpose of the panel was for the CYD field to hear from cross-sector about their areas of focus and motivations in order to better understand how CYD might partner across sectors as well as to be inspired by the CYD cross-sector work happening in the Los Angeles region.

Sainz and Johnson shared their experiences working with and on behalf of young people facing adversity. Both leaders championed creative youth development as a powerful and effective way to connect with young people and engage them in activities and programs that can alter the fundamental trajectories of their lives.

Sainz’s efforts in workforce investment includes a focus on “recovering the 1 in 6 young people in Los Angeles aged 16-24 who are not employed or in school, currently totaling 82,000”—the opportunity youth discussed in the CYD-publication Setting the Agenda and elsewhere—as well as youth development, investing in education, and reducing recidivism. Sainz has observed that the arts support the retention of young people in programs and that the arts offerings at the LA community centers his department funds are the most popular programs among teens and young adults.

Johnson’s commitment to social justice includes reducing the incarceration footprint, reducing and redirecting money spent on corrections, and putting those funds into other systems such as education, and building mainstream support for criminal justice reform. His work on behalf of young people also includes serving as Vice President of the Los Angeles County School Board.

Johnson reflected on how “the arts allow young people to engage in a way that meets them where they are…the arts allows kids to get in touch with their feelings, whatever rage might be inside, whatever socioeconomic factors they might face.”

“Broken people become broken adults…you see hope when kids are able to let it out,” he said.

He spoke specifically about the role of creative youth development in skills development, retention, whole child pathways, and development of relationships with meaning and heart and in providing a different perspective to calcified thinking about how to work with young people, particularly those who have been incarcerated or for whom school has been an alienating or otherwise negative experience. In spotlighting the talents and hard work of young people engaged in CYD programs Johnson sees an antidote to the pervasive negative portrayals of young people in the media, particularly low-income boys and men of color.

Brazell shared information about her agency’s internship programs which include efforts to place young people who have aged out of the foster care system into internships in supportive and caring environments at community arts organizations.

The panelists shared a conviction about the need to advocate for investment in young people, and they discussed opportunities around joint advocacy. With strong consensus about the value of CYD in supporting positive outcomes and promising futures for young people, the panelists shifted into discussion of challenges to partnership, including funding, bureaucracies, and work cultures. They discussed the need to understand cross-sector partners’ language and to communicate in ways that support understanding.

With forums such as this one the Partnership aims to build understanding and dialogue about cross-sector partnership and CYD. Engaging not-the-usual-suspects leaders such as Robert Sainz and Alex Johnson in the CYD movement and providing platforms for them to speak on behalf of the value of creative youth development in the lives of young people are important strategies for extending the work of CYD across sectors and for growing support for the field.

Native Youth Thrive in Tribal Youth Ambassadors Program

Jayden Lim, age 15, speaks on behalf of 2016 NAHYP Awardee, Tribal Youth Ambassadors. Photo credit: Steven E. Purcell.

We are Indian and we are proud. We still sing. We still laugh. We still dream. We still stand. – Jayden Lim

At the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award’s White House ceremony, which honors programs that are national models in the field of creative youth development, Jayden Lim was the youth speaker on behalf of the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center.

Jayden, a young woman from Santa Rosa, CA, shared the stage with First Lady Michelle Obama. With her personal story, Jayden shared the power of the humanities to transform Native youth’s lives:

I am a Pomo Indian from Northern California. In some ways, I am your average 15 year old. I am a sophomore in high school, I love music, and I am currently learning how to drive. In some ways, I am very different from the other students at my school. I run my own DJ business and I work to educate others about California tribal histories and cultures.

With an average graduation rate of 54.5%, Santa Rosa’s Native youth are unlikely to graduate from high school or college. Many are also challenged by high rates of depression and suicide. The Museum’s Tribal Youth Ambassadors program works to combat these challenges by bringing tribal youth together to address their own needs. Ever since engaging these young people after school and in the summer, the Museum has seen 100% of its Tribal Youth Ambassadors program participants graduate—sometimes, with honors.

In this multi-disciplinary program, students aged 9–24 receive humanities lessons, plus Native language, cultural, and multimedia arts training after school, two days a week, for two to four hours. Students learn leadership, public speaking, and presentation skills as well as how to serve as docents.

Students like Jayden gain numerous benefits from the Museum’s positive learning environments. By studying oral history and practicing storytelling, they gain a greater awareness and appreciation of their heritage; they learn their role in promoting intercultural understanding among Native and non-Native communities; they find their voices to express and share their rich history and culture and go out into their communities ready to tackle tribal stereotypes and misinformation.

For Jayden, participation in the Tribal Youth Ambassadors program has empowered her. She feels a tremendous sense of responsibility to dispel misinformation about Native Americans. She advocates for her community, and in her own words, “demonstrates not only how native people survive but how we thrive.”

Amplify Grants Awarded to 15 Youth-Led Community Projects

Youth Leaders with Elevated Thought in Lawrence, MAThis year, the Massachusetts Cultural Council awarded 15 Amplify grants totaling $15,000 to projects designed and executed by young people in programs receiving YouthReach or SerHacer funding. Amplify shines a spotlight on the contributions these young people make to their communities by supporting them directly in creating and publicly sharing their work.

See the Amplify projects supported in 2017 and 2016.

Eric Booth on the Potency of Teaching Artistry

Creative Minds Out Loud logoOn the MCC’s podcast, Creative Minds Out Loud, we recently spoke with Eric Booth about the potency of teaching artistry.

Booth, one of the foremost experts in the world on teaching artists, discusses the field and craft of teaching artistry. He says while teaching artists are recognized as learning catalysts – by the education, business, and healthcare sectors (to name a few) – there continue to be insufficient growth pathways to support the expertise that’s been developed by this global workforce.

Listen to the podcast.

Read the transcript.

Check out other podcast episodes featuring Creative Youth Development leaders.

Apply for a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award

Images of NAHYP awarded programs

If your organization is offering outstanding out-of-school-time humanities learning opportunities to young people, you may be eligible for the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. See if your organization is eligible.

The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation’s highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s young people, particularly those from underserved communities. This award recognizes and supports excellence in programs that open new pathways to learning, self-discovery, and achievement.

How to Apply

Completed applications will only be accepted via the online process.

Application deadline has been extended Until February 13, 9:00PM PST.

The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards is a signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities – in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

CYD Partnership Appoints National Advisory Committee

The Creative Youth Development National Partnership has appointed 11 members to its National Advisory Committee. Additional advisors will be appointed in the coming months. This cross-sector Committee will play a significant strategic role in helping to shape and vet strategic recommendations for how to advance the field of CYD.

We are pleased to announce the following advisors:

  • Nicole Amri, Program Director, SAY Sí, San Antonio, TX
  • Jennifer Cole, Executive Director, Metro Arts, Nashville, TN
  • Sarah Cunningham, Executive Director of Research, School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
  • Deb Habib, Executive Director, Seeds of Solidarity, Orange, MA
  • Alex Johnson, Managing Director for Californians for Safety and Justice, Oakland, CA
  • Cristy Johnston Limon, Executive Director, Destiny Arts Center, Oakland, CA
  • Erik Peterson, Vice President, Policy, Afterschool Alliance, Washington, D.C.
  • Kwame Scruggs, Founder and Director of Programs and Training, Alchemy Inc., Akron, OH
  • Lauren Stevenson, Director of Youth Initiatives, Head of Project 1324, Adobe Social Impact, San Francisco Bay Area, CA
  • Matt Wilson, Executive Director, MASSCreative, Boston, MA
  • Jason Yoon, Executive Director, Atlas DIY, Brooklyn, NY

See full bios.

New META Fellowships Provide Professional Development for Mass Teaching Artists

Eric Booth leads learning session for more than 40 Massachusetts teaching artists on October 13, 2016 at the META Fellowship launch at Boston’s Symphony Hall.The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) and Klarman Family Foundation have launched a new program to help teaching artists improve the quality of their work with youth in schools and community settings across Massachusetts.

The Music Educators and Teaching Artists (META) Fellowship Pilot Program meets a growing need for high-quality, professional teaching in programs that employ the principles of creative youth development. With an initial focus on music, this two-year fellowship will help teaching artists develop the skills, relationships, and experiences they need to improve their practice. In turn, these artist educators will be better equipped to help their students grow as musicians and develop the cognitive and life skills they will need to thrive as adults.

“This project is a game changer. It is powerful and unique in a number of ways,” says Eric Booth, author and international authority on teaching artistry. “This can serve as a model for the rest of the country.”

Read more.

Drumming & Myth: Healing Urban Youth Through Alchemy

Still from FINDING THE GOLD WITHIN, by Karina EpperleinAlchemy is a nonprofit organization in Akron, OH that provides a safe environment and sense of community to assist in the development of urban adolescents through the telling, discussion, and interpretation of mythological stories and fairy tales told to the beat of an African drum.

Since 2003, Alchemy has worked with over 2,000 male youth in its creative youth development programs. In 2012, they received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities.

“Myths speak to archetypal situations, universal dilemmas,” said Kwame Scruggs, Executive Director of Alchemy, Inc. And, embedded in myths are guides to behavior that he believes can help counter some of the destructive images of masculinity that have taken root in some aspects of urban culture.

“For the seven years that I have been in Alchemy, It has helped me grow from a boy to a man. The mythological stories we read and hear you can relate to everyday life. It helps you become a better decision maker to help you through hard times. It also connects you with other black males where I learn about their problems and we are able to help each other overcome obstacles. Alchemy is a great group of loyalty and brotherhood.” – Marlon, Alchemy participant

“I come, I listen, I share or say what I gotta say. I feel more open, because nothing leaves the circle. I’m something like a son, well, we all can say we are. But with no father figure in my life it seems like I had one when I come here and a lot of brothers so it taught me how to bond with people. So I come because it’s Alchemy. Love Kwame like a father.” – Dionte, Alchemy participant

Although personal development, rather than academic achievement, is the program’s chief goal, Alchemy’s techniques are also promoting academic success. Twenty-four of 28 members of its “first class” graduated from high school and went on to college. (And, of those 24 who enrolled in college, nine Alchemy alums have already graduated with their college degrees with 6 more alum on track to graduate by June 2018.)

In Finding the Gold Within, a feature-length documentary by Karina Epperlein, follow six young African American men, alumni of Alchemy’s program, as they enter college, determined to redefine society’s images and low expectations of them:

CYD Partners Host Briefing in Washington, D.C.

Megan Beyer, Executive Director of The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), welcomes attendees of the briefing organized by the CYD National Partnership and hosted by PCAH in Washington, D.C.

Megan Beyer, Executive Director of The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), welcomes attendees of the briefing organized by the CYD National Partnership and hosted by PCAH in Washington, D.C.

Over 30 representatives from federal agencies and national organizations attended the Creative Youth Development National Partnership’s briefing on the CYD field and Partnership on September 19 in Washington, D.C. Cross-sector partnership is vital to our efforts to build access and opportunities for young people to participate in CYD programs across the country. We are grateful for the rich dialogue and the advice and information shared by briefing participants from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Afterschool Alliance, U.S. Department of Justice, and National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

Discussion on common areas of interest ranged from community development, connected learning, exposure of youth to violence and trauma, research on breaking the school-to-prison pipeline, heightened interest in social and emotional learning, equity and social justice, pathways to higher education, and potential areas of collaboration. The Partnership will continue to forge ties across sectors as a core strategy to increasing access for young people to quality CYD programs nationwide.