As we look ahead to a new year at Creative Action, we’re also taking the opportunity to look back at what we accomplished in 2017. As with every passing year, we met new students, parents, and teaching artists, were presented with new challenges, and found new ways to make an impact in our community at large.
In 2017 we:
- Delivered 40,000+ programming hours in high-quality arts education and enrichment
- Reached 22,000 young people and the adults who care for them in greater Austin
- Served 80+ schools and community sites across Central Texas
- Reached 75% low-income youth and families with free and affordable arts programs that help close the opportunity gap among at-risk youth
And we did so much more than just show up: we effected real change. Like the 93 percent of after school students who said they learned how art can change people in positive ways last year, we too saw the tangible impact our programs had on young people and the communities they live in.
The schools and communities we reached in 2017:
From our interactive, in-school, theatrical performances, students strengthened social and emotional, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.
Via our Courage to Stand in-school program, for example, fourth and and fifth graders learned to prevent bullying, resulting in 63% reported decrease in bullying on those campuses. Eighty-two percent of sixth through eighth graders we serve feel more confident speaking up when they experience bullying or sexual harassment after undergoing the Crossing the line program. And kindergarten through second graders we worked with used the four-step conflict resolution process they learned in the Heroes/Los Héroes interactive performance program at a rate of 88 percent, according to their teachers.
“I learned that even if I don’t know how to solve a problem I can put myself in their shoes to see how they feel,” said one 6th grade student after experiencing our Crossing the Line program.
The Social Impact
Outside of the classroom and interpersonal relationships, students also learned the value of art in making a social impact. Ninety-six percent of the teens involved in our programs say they now have the tools and language to respond to social justice issues in their community after participating in Color Squad, Youth Cinema Collective or Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble. In 2017, they put those tools into practice by creating a mural for the local food bank, a film about the effect of immigration (that played on PBS!), and a performance about sexual harassment and consent.
“This program has changed the way I think about social justice, and my role as an activist because I have realized that theatre can be made for youth and still be impactful and carry an important message,” said one 10th grade student involved in our Changing Lives program.
As an organization, we also moved to make more of a social impact in 2017. Last year, we continued our strategic plan, conceived in 2016, to implement social justice initiatives at Creative Action, including social justice circles for people of color and for white, anti-racist allies. We also kickstarted a collaborative fellowship with Six Square Austin’s Black Cultural District in 2017, helping the organization to achieve their mission of re-animating the historical black cultural district of which we are a part.
Also in 2017
Other special highlights include winning the Austin Chronicle’s “Best Camp” in their 2017 Best of Austin awards, partnering with East Side Pies to raise more than $8,000 (and to eat lots of pizza), receiving a SXSW Community Service Award, and hosting all of our annual community events.
Thanks you to all who made the year such a great one! We can’t wait to go further in 2018.