Education Programs for At-Risk Youth

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Youth involvement in the arts is associated with gains in cognitive abilities, essential life skills and community participation. Unfortunately, youth who are court-ordered into juvenile justice facilities lack important connections to school, community and have very limited opportunities to experience the arts and their tremendous benefits.

Heineman Foundation, Brevard Schools Foundation and Brevard Cultural Alliance have partnered to implement a comprehensive arts education program at two residential juvenile justice facilities: Melbourne Center for Personal Growth and Brevard Group Treatment Home

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The two participating sites are hosting a series of BCA Next Generation Artist Residencies with the primary goal of providing tools and opportunities for students’ personal growth in becoming healthy, caring and responsible adults.

Program activities seek to:

  • Enhance site’s educational programs, through “project-based” lessons (“learn by doing” approach)
  • Build students’ academic, artistic and life skills
  • Help participants identify career options in the arts or arts-related fields
  • Explore socially acceptable outlets for expression and recreation

The Artist Residencies model consists of an intensive series of classroom sessions with professional and highly-qualified visual, performing or literary artist(s) at a hosting site. Residencies are designed to immerse participants in a particular art discipline through “hands-on” arts instruction that is project based.

Brevard Group Treatment Home

Illustrator/graphic designer Hassan Patterson worked at Brevard Group Treatment Home with two groups of students (30 boys, ages 12-16) on the creation of a series of illustrations (bookcovers, advertising, posters, etc.) themed on Science and Social Studies curriculum.

This residency consisted of 10 sessions with each group and included instruction in traditional arts techniques (pencils, design markers, etc), as well as computer graphics basics.

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Melbourne Center for Personal Growth

Local video producer Jon Emmerich taught three groups of students (32 boys, ages 14-18) the basics of filmmaking. Each group worked under Emmerich’s instruction for 13 sessions, learning to use mobile devices and computer technology for shooting and editing short films on topics of interest to the boys.

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Apart from the anecdotal feedback gained by artists and the BCA Coordinator through direct observation and conversations with participants and site staff, the program utilizes two primary data collection tools to assess accomplishment of goals and overall impact.