Each year, Create Now organizes cultural outings for thousands of the neediest youth in Southern California through our Artistic Journeys program. These events take many forms: concerts, plays, circuses, museum visits, even fun sports. Cultural excursions motivate youth to overcome their challenges and introduce them to the world of the arts. For most, it’s their first time experiencing a live performance or event of any kind.
A study by researcher Terry Cheney found that cultural events help youth to develop communication skills, physical dexterity, mental concentration, discipline, creativity and imagination. Other research proves that exposure to the arts greatly enhances mathematical and literacy skills in youth.
Many of these troubled kids are reluctant to visit new places or to go on any outings. Because of the abuse and trauma they have had to endure, they’re afraid to venture out into the world. Often, they feel self-conscious, fearful that they won’t fit in with everyone else. Yet the social workers, therapists, probation officers and other staff at the youth facilities that we partner with tell us that after attending Create Now field trips, their youth are more focused and able to concentrate longer.
As part of their participation, we ask all the kids to express their appreciation by making handmade cards and letters for our donors. Since many at-risk youth don’t have good writing and social skills, this is a great way for them to learn how to say thank you and encourages the kids to use their creativity. At the same time, our donors love to see the children’s reactions to their performances. They also use these letters and cards to obtain funding for educational programs.
Here are annual summaries of Artistic Journeys from previous years: