NY Non-Profit Is Bringing The Arts, Education And Confidence To At-Risk Youth
Just in time for the Tony's, Statement Arts' StART Dreaming College Prep Program is celebrating its eighth year with a bang! In conjunction with a Crowdfunding Campaign to raise vital funds for this year's summer intensive, the organization and its good work will be highlighted in Times Square during the month of May. Thanks to Morgan Stanley's Lights on Broadway campaign, which builds awareness of nonprofit organizations, Statement Arts will be featured on the enormous digital billboards that adorn the financial firm's headquarters at 1585 Broadway with photographs by Chile's prize-winning photographer, Ari Espay.
Founded by award-winning producer, Liza Politi, StART Dreaming is an immersive arts and college prep program offered to high school seniors who do not have access to professional performing arts education, the resources or guidance for college prep, or a safe place to collaborate, create and achieve success. Most participants in the program are minorities from the low income neighborhoods in New York City including Washington Heights, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Harlem. Politi hopes to expand the organization across the country in the coming years.
Free to its students, the program has 100% success rate in college admission, most students receiving substantial scholarships. Of its nearly 100 graduates, many at one time have faced overwhelming challenges which include; homelessness, violence, bullying, and mental illness. In spite of these challenges, students demonstrate passion and resilience. Though the program focuses on the arts, students are often seeking a connection, safety and trust more than anything else.
Jerel, for example, was homeless in 2013 when he joined the program and was only going to school because he was fed breakfast and lunch. Now, six years later, Jerel is graduating from Brooklyn College with a degree in Psychology and considering a Master Degree. He says, "Statement Arts has given me a family."
Adriana, a Bronx native, was recently awarded a full four year scholarship (including housing) to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She will be the first in her family to attend college and credits Statement Arts for this dream come true.
EJ Bonilla, a Statement Arts alum is currently bringing his dreams to life on shows such as "Bull" and "The Kitchen."
Learn more at www.statementarts.org.