If you think art is fluff, then think again. There’s twenty or more years of research to prove you wrong. Specifically, there’s a robust cadre of quantitative and qualitative evidence (click here) that arts-based programs not only help children do better in school, but for kids who are at risk for gang involvement, academic failure, teen pregnancy and juvenile delinquency, they can be a life-line.
Why? Because it’s not all snapping photos, bright colors, rapping and dancing. It’s hard work. Participation in the arts teaches children initiative and self-discipline–important skills every parents hopes their child can learn. Even more, group arts activities teach kids collaboration, cooperation and conflict-resolution skills.
So programs like PhotoKids, AHCMC’s summer hands-on science and photography program for at-risk youth, are very meaningful. They offer kids in economically-stressed circumstances a chance to participate in fun activities with caring mentors during unsupervised hours when they could easily be veggin’ in front of the television or engaging in a little B & E or worse.
This summer’s program took ten middle school students on a variety of field trips from the wilds of Great Falls to the exotic beauty of Brookside Gardens to the luscious hills of Butler’s Orchard. Along the way the kids learned about photography, science, and nature. They built strong friendships with new people. They amazed themselves, their families and the other people living in their apartment complexes with the sheer beauty of the photographs they took. Above all they gained great self-confidence and sense of self-worth, two important traits that can help kids say no to risky activities and make healthy choices for the future.
Enjoy the photographs below and go see the exhibit of PhotoKids at the Lobby Art Gallery, Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville) between now and Friday, December 14, 2012. If you’d like to make a donation to PhotoKids, click here and select Programs for At-Risk Children. 97¢ of every $1 you give to AHCMC goes directly to PhotoKids.
Images from Brookside Gardens