You can have confidence that your donation is making a difference because of the results.

© 2012 Shyla Lechuga, Prinjastin Sykes, Danika Avila, Wolf Girl

Download a pdf of our 2019 evaluation results

In 2019, Art from Ashes served 1003 youth. Of the 592 who completed intake forms,

31.1% identified as white
29.1% identified as Latino or Hispanic
11.5% identified as Black or African American
6.4% identified as bi-racial or multi-racial
3.5% identified as Native American, Eskimo, or Aleut
3.4% identified as Asian or Pacific Islander
3.2% other
11.8% did not respond

6.3% voluntarily self-identified as LGBTQ+

AfA’s pre- and post-surveys, conducted with youth participants in the Phoenix Rising program since 2005, show that our creative empowerment programs are not only essential for engaging youth in the arts—particularly their own creative genius—but also 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.

AfA measures impact through nine survey self-assessment domains: Program Quality & Satisfaction, Academic Success, Arts & Culture, Community Involvement, Cultural Responsiveness, Life Skills, Positive Life Choices, Core Values, and Sense of Self. Evaluation assessments allow for qualitative statements such as “I can express myself through poetry,” “I show others how I see the world through poetry,” and “I feel that I can make a difference.”

AfA’s 2019 survey results for all programs, when comparing responses to youth who submitted both pre- and post-survey responses, show that struggling young people are developing connections to their communities and that the curriculum produces in youth a deeper belief in themselves and their potential, leading to improved social and emotional skills and behavior. After participating in Phoenix Rising workshops, post-survey responses indicate:

♥ 85% of youth participants affirm they try hard in school
♥ 59% of youth participants affirm they feel a strong connection to their community
♥ 81% of youth participants affirm they feel strongly that youth like them can be poets (artists)
♥ 98% of youth participants affirm they have respect for young people of other cultures, races, or ethnic groups
♥ 79% of youth participants affirm they feel good about themselves

AfA’s surveys include space for personal testimonials about the program. When asked what they loved about Art from Ashes and what change, if any, they saw in their life as a result of this program, youth responses included:

  • “More mental clarity, awareness of my thoughts.” —Desmond, 21, Phoenix Rising on-site workshops at AfA
  • “It helps express how I really feel and people listen. I am listened to and understood, not really judged.” —Angie, 19, Endeavor Academy
  • “More involvement from me in the poetry/art community in Denver.” —Serenity, 18, Endeavor Academy
  • “I have a new outlet for my emotions. This is a good coping skill.” —Jessica, 16, Endeavor Academy
  • “The change I see, thanks to Art from Ashes, is they make you a better person and make you reflect about things.” —Fatima Jasmin, 17, New America High School
  • “I definitely appreciate writing after this, and I think I’ll enjoy it a lot more from here on out.” —Harry, 16, CEC Aurora
  • “I love everything about this program.” —Mary, 21, Mile High Youth Corps
  • “I see myself becoming more comfortable speaking in front of others.” —Ziann, 20, Mile High Youth Corps

By guiding young people in creative exploration leading to self-discovery, AfA programs empower youth to become successful, contributing citizens, benefiting the community at large. As one young participant wrote to a facilitator, “I can’t put into words the power you gave back to me. Especially with all that has gone on in my life until now. You inspire me to be a better person every day. Thank you.”

The value of the program is regularly recognized by community members, 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.

Many youth, including survivors of trauma and abuse, continue to attest to the long-term impact AfA has had on their lives. Former youth participants attend community performances and continue to visit the office and drop in on workshops to personally testify to the positive impact AfA workshops have had on their lives. Youth participants frequently go on to become public speakers in support of the program, train as facilitators, and become guest artists.

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.

In 2019 we partnered with 21 schools and agencies to facilitate 264 workshops with 1,003 youth participants. That’s 2,013 youth contacts between the age of 12 and 24!

In addition to the youth workshops, AfA held 41 adult workshops; 100% of the proceeds went to our youth on-site workshops.

Your donation will keep this good work going! Help us reach more youth in 2020-21 by donating here on our website, through ColoradoGives.org or through PayPal Cares.


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 School

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