We are extremely honored to share the news about receiving a grant for our first after school program: Voices of the Woods. Along with many other powerful initiatives, on March 27th the Art Center of the Capital Region announced Arts Letters & Numbers as one of the grantees of NYSCA’s Decentralization program for Arts Education. This grant gives the opportunity to collaborate with Averill Park High School and initiate an after school program for the fall of 2019. Lead by ALN Fellow Natasha Holmes, the program Voices of the Woods aims to expose local youth to the facilities and international community of ALN while addressing social issues in online youth culture today by providing an open platform of expression.
Voices of the Woods will tackle youth-specific issues in the Averill Park that have been identified in ALN’s ongoing dialogues with the community. Recent focus groups held by The Town of Sand Lake with local high school students have identified a lack of destinations and public space sufficient for a healthy youth culture. Nancy Perry, Town Board Supervisor, has expressed support for the program, which will achieve community goals of increasing recreational and educational space for youth, key concerns as the youth community has struggled with the nationwide opioid crisis in recent years. The program has also received enthusiastic support from NOpiates Committee, a local community group dedicated to raising addiction awareness who strongly advocates for ALN as a community-building entity.
Intended outcomes of Voices of the Woods include creating an inclusive space for vulnerable youth, increasing access to the arts, demonstrating productive uses of social media, and strengthening ties between ALN and APHS. By empowering students with decision-making roles, creative problem solving, and a supportive social environment, Voices of the Woods will provide a sense of belonging for youth seeking an open platform of expression. This program will provide significant insight into the needs of the local youth community that can inform future programming and has already received partial funding from 2019 Community Arts Cultural Services Grant by NYSCA.
This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by The Arts Center of the Capital Region.