One of our first projects was an experiential training day for Probation field deputies. This was so successful, it was followed by a training for Juvenile Court Probation staff. This was a transformative experience for teaching artists and Probation staff, and affirmed the importance of arts as a healing-informed strategy for both youth and staff.
It remains core to our efforts to use arts as a catalyst for systemic cultural change. We will soon be launching a training component for staff at the camps where we provide programming.
This summer, AIYN completed a pilot project to provide arts programming in six detention camps as an innovative extension of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools program. AIYN provided arts instruction to youth at Camps Afflerbaugh, Gonzalez, Miller, Scott, Scudder, and Rockey,Monday through Friday, for 90-minute sessions, with a demonstration of learning/student performance each Saturday. Arts curriculum was designed to build on principles, themes, and goals of the Freedom Schools literacy program in rotating modules, so that all students could experience multiple arts disciplines over the four-week period. Our findings show adding arts increased the effectiveness of Freedom Schools through statistically significant increased participation and interest, increased confidence in reading aloud, and increased sense of hopefulness about their own future.
We’re working in partnership with Children’s Defense Fund to develop a develop a toolkit and Technical Assistance fund to support bringing this model to other Freedom Schools sites in detention facilities across the country.