You can know that what we do works, because we get results.
In 2016 we partnered with 28 schools and agencies to facilitate 333 workshops with 608 youth participants. That’s 2,498 youth contacts between the age of 12 and 24!
Of the youth surveyed, 43% were male; 53% female; and 4% other (we always ask for pronoun preferences for those youth who do not identify as binary); 60% were people of color (Native, African American, Hispanic, bi-racial, Asian and Middle Eastern) and 40% Caucasian.
Of the nearly 500 youth who participated in pre- and post-surveys:
84% of youth participants affirm “the activities are fun/enjoyable at Art from Ashes workshops”
90% of youth participants affirm “I feel safe at Art from Ashes workshops”
90% of youth participants affirm “Facilitators give me lots of support”
92% of youth participants affirm “Facilitators can be trusted”
In addition to the youth workshops, AfA held 40 adult workshops for 35 unduplicated adult participants and presented in front of thousands at 61 conferences and events across Colorado.
AfA’s pre and post surveys, conducted on youth in the Phoenix Rising program since 2009, show that the workshops develop youth connections to their communities and produce in youth a deeper belief in themselves and their potential, leading to improved social and emotional skills and behavior.
In 2016, surveys demonstrated
- a 9.8% increase in youth who say they try hard in school
- a 60% increase in youth who say they can express themselves through poetry
- a 54% increase in youth who affirm they feel they have a strong connection with their community
- a 12.5% increase in youth who say they are good setting goals
AfA’s youth empowerment programs are fundamental to providing the self-value and motivation necessary for youth to take advantage of educational opportunities, job and career counseling, drug and alcohol rehab, and mental health services.
The value of the program is regularly recognized by the community it serves, as evidenced by this recent testimonial: “I can’t thank you enough…The work that you do is helping to transform our school and inspire our students more than you may know.”
— Brian Sleevi, creative writing teacher at The New America School in Thornton, Colorado.
AfA’s evaluation results are integrated into ongoing curriculum design enhancement and program implementation, improved staff training, and communication of program results to community partners and funders.
AfA’s surveys include space for personal testimonials about the program. When asked what change, if any, they saw in their life as a result of this program, youth responses included:
- “I have creative genius in me, and people want to hear it spoken.”
- “Art from Ashes has helped me get into writing and finding the passion that had lay within.”
- “I see a huge change. I didn’t know I could be the creative. In a way, I didn’t know how much I have in me.
- “I will have more faith in myself when it comes to making important decisions in life.”
Download the infographic below here
In January 2012, AfA was awarded a Service to Science grant through SAMHSA to fund enhancements to its evaluations program. AfA is also participating in the National Research Center’s (NRC) Youth Outcomes Coalition by contributing post-survey data that will be included in both statewide and national assessments and comparisons. Additionally, AfA contributes data to the Alliance for Creative Youth Development, comprised of out-of-school, arts-based, youth development-focused agencies in metropolitan Denver. The agency’s programs evaluator, Lewis Lease, MSW, is working to keep AfA on the cutting edge of data-driven youth empowerment programs.
The Report on Community-Based Youth Organizations by the Carnegie Foundation found that young people who are involved in after-school community arts programs:
• are 4 times more likely to have won school-wide attention for their academic achievement
• are elected to class office within their schools more than 3 times as often
• are 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
• are 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
• are more than 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem
“The change I see in my life after Art from Ashes is speaking more about what I feel.”
—youth from DSST Middle Schoo
Numerous studies assert that participation in the arts promotes positive outcomes in other academic disciplines and in social development and cognitive capacity; and that learning in the arts helps shape motivation, intense self-discipline, confidence and perseverance.
“I have ‘come out of my shell’ more because of these workshops.”
—youth from Rainbow Alley