WHO WE ARE
ASTEP was conceived by Broadway Musical Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Juilliard students to transform the lives of youth using the most powerful tool they had: their art. Today, ASTEP connects performing and visual artists with youth from underserved communities in the U.S. and around the world to awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking, and help them break the cycle of poverty.
WHY THE ARTS?
ACCESS TO THE ARTS IS ESSENTIAL
TO A CHILD'S SUCCESS
We see every day how access to the arts gives children vital skills that can be used in school and in their personal lives. They become better communicators, build their confidence to participate, and learn how to solve problems by thinking outside the box. Most importantly, the arts show each child that their voice is important.
There is infinite possibility in that belief.
HOW WE WORK
WE PARTNER WITH SCHOOLS
AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS
ASTEP partners with schools and community organizations to create after-school and summer programming that celebrates young people’s strengths and builds up their unique areas for growth. These programs use the arts as a vehicle to teach youth the social emotional skills they need to be the best versions of themselves.
What makes ASTEP unique is that we craft models that best fit the needs of our partner’s student population, working collaboratively within existing structures. This approach means that we are complementing our partners’ goals, ensuring the needs of the whole child are met. Practically speaking, this means that all ASTEP programs look vastly different from one another.
ASTEP programs currently serve the following populations: youth affected by immigration status, homelessness, gun-violence, incarceration, the justice system, HIV/AIDS, systemic poverty, and the caste system.
ASTEP'S ARTISTS ARE THE KEY TO OUR SUCCESS
The quality of the artists who volunteer with ASTEP uniquely positions us among other arts education nonprofits. Our Volunteer Teaching Artists are highly successful Broadway performers, professional artists, or students and faculty from schools such as Juilliard, offering a variety of disciplines such as dance, visual art, music, and drama. They become transformative role models in the lives of the youth we serve, combining their passion for the arts and their ability to use artistic tools to teach important life skills.
THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO ENGAGE WITH ASTEP
AND GIVE YOUNG PEOPLE ACCESS TO THE ARTS
THE ART PROGRAMS EQUIPPED ME WITH THE SKILLS TO APPRECIATE DEPTH AND DETAIL, AN INVALUABLE ABILITY REQUIRED FOR THE STUDY OF LAW
Karthika Annamalai, the daughter of a quarry worker from a poverty-stricken region of India, was fortunate to receive an education at Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project, an ASTEP partner. She participated in ASTEP art programs throughout primary and secondary school, excelling in visual arts and becoming an accomplished cellist, taught by ASTEP volunteer musicians. Her dedication to academics and talent for the arts, along with the confidence and belief in a better future that ASTEP programs helped foster, helped Karthika to secure a spot in law school, where she is currently completing her first year.
ONE OF THE THINGS THE PROGRAM DOES IS INSTILL A SENSE OF FAMILY AND COMMUNITY
"I have changed as an artist since working with ASTEP and seen my own artistic personality change in a positive direction. I am better in many instances for that.”
WORKING WITH ASTEP SHOWED ME WHAT I SHOULD BE DOING FOR MY LIFE'S WORK
"Working with ASTEP taught me that there is so much that you can learn while working as a teaching artist. I’ve learned how to move through adversity. How to creatively work in a group with others. How to take risks and try new things. I’ve learned how to communicate without words. Working with ASTEP showed me what I should be doing for my life’s work. Nothing on this earth makes me happier than working with children as a teaching artist."
THE JOY AND EXCITEMENT OUR STUDENTS HAVE IS A REMINDER OF THE CAPACITY TO GROW AND DO MORE.
"The joy and excitement our students have when they come into class reminds me of the power each of us has to impact someone’s life. It inspires us to push ourselves in our own work outside of teaching. For me, it’s also a reminder that we have the capacity to grow and do more. And that we should set mindful intentions so that we can be the best version of ourselves."