Gift an ASTEP Creative Activity Kit!

The current state of the world has brought on unexpected challenges for our partners and the communities we serve together. Many of our students have limited access to the internet, which hinders their ability to participate in online learning. Other students have been overwhelmed by screen time and need to disconnect. On top of these challenges, access to art supplies is limited for our students.

In order to solve these problems, we are launching our Creative Activity Kits initiative!

These kits are full of educational arts-based activities that allow students to learn, express themselves, and have fun. No internet or screens are required, and all of the necessary supplies are included in the kits. Each student will receive their own kit, which they can take with them for whenever inspiration strikes.

So far, we’ve provided 150 Creative Activity Kits to our students, but we need your help to continue giving the gift of imagination in these challenging times.

  • For $25, you can send a Creative Activity Kit to an ASTEP student.
  • For $150, you can provide Creative Activity Kits to a family of six affected by homelessness.
  • For $500, you can support an entire classroom of students with Creative Activity Kits.


Donate!






Changemakers Scholarship: Apply Now!

The ASTEP Changemakers Scholarship will award six $1,000.00 scholarships, each supporting a Black student who has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to social justice. This scholarship will support the recipients’ educational journey.

Eligibility- Must be a graduating high school/alternative school senior and resident of New York City. This scholarship may be used at an accredited college, university, vocational, or technical training program. Of the six scholarships, at least one will be awarded specifically for a student attending an HBCU (Historically Black College or University). Former ASTEP students are especially encouraged to apply.

Applicants must submit either a video or an essay to answer the question: How are you an agent of transformation toward social justice? Give specific examples from your life and personal beliefs.

Submission deadline: June 1, 2021
Winners will be contacted by June 14, 2021

If chosen, winners will be asked to share their story by submitting a photo and paragraph about how the funds were used to support their educational pursuits as their testimonies help promote the scholarship fund for future applicants.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY

 

 

ASTEP is hiring!

DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS JOB OPENING – APPLY TODAY!

As we respond to the events of 2020, including the effects of two deadly viruses, COVID-19 and the ongoing impact of systemic racism, ASTEP is going beyond listening into action. We are committed as never before to engaging professional teaching artists with skills and experiences relevant to the communities we serve. We are hiring a new Director of Programs to lead these efforts in designing and staffing ASTEP’s Programs. The ideal candidate is flexible, creative, and collaborative. They care deeply about the arts and believe in its power to develop important life skills, awaken children’s imaginations, and help them become active participants in their own lives and in the life of their communities.

ABOUT ASTEP

ASTEP values creating community among our staff members, and are invested in everyone as individuals. We believe in collaboration and communication. We work as a team, and genuinely care about setting everyone up for success. We deeply believe in the potential of the youth we work with, and are genuinely excited about the opportunities we create with them. We are committed to the health of our employees, and are working remotely until it is deemed safe to return to a busy office environment in midtown Manhattan. ASTEP provides support for remote working situations as needed.

ASTEP’S COMMITMENT TO ANTIRACISM AND ANTI-OPPRESSION

ASTEP began its anti-racism journey long before the summer of 2020 and expects to continue it long after. We engage in both formal (training, consultancies) and informal practices (book clubs, shared leadership models) to continue to interrogate supremacist behavior in ourselves and our organization. We are committed to seeking staff members and teaching artists that are representative of the communities we serve, therefore cultivating a sense of belonging across diverse populations is crucial to our success.

ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Lead the overall and day-to-day operations of ASTEP programs to ensure smooth functioning of each program, domestic and international
  • Recruit, hire, and on-board a diverse roster of teaching artists that reflect the diversity and breadth of the communities we serve
  • Design and lead trainings for teaching artists which are based on the most current and inclusive pedagogical practices, including anti-racist pedagogy, trauma-informed and culturally responsive teaching, Universal Design for Learning, and more
  • Develop and manage systems for conducting ongoing monitoring and evaluation of programs
  • Design, implement and cultivate ASTEP’s relationships with partner organizations
  • Develop annual program budget and maintain program expenditures within budgeted parameters
  • Design and maintain a lesson plan database and program structures
  • Provide quarterly program updates to the Board of Directors
  • Create and share quarterly reports on Program successes and metrics
  • Monitor child protection policies for programs
  • Support ASTEP fundraising events
  • Design and maintain a materials and supplies inventory

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Bachelor’s degree or demonstration of comparable expertise
  • Minimum five years experience in relevant fields
  • Passion and skill for developing interpersonal relationships, and an ability to build trust and rapport across diverse populations
  • A proven commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion implementation and a fluency with anti-racism and anti-oppression frameworks
  • Experience leading teams and/or managing contractors
  • Demonstrate ability to successfully maintain and utilize database systems
  • A proactive and highly motivated individual who demonstrates the initiative to grow our programs
  • Excellent communications skills, written and oral
  • An understanding of and commitment to ASTEP’s mission, stated above, and the diverse populations we serve, which include youth impacted by the justice system, gun violence, homelessness, immigration system, systemic poverty, and HIV/AIDS
  • A high cultural competency relevant to the specific populations ASTEP serves

 

APPLICATION DEADLINE
February 12, 2021

IDEAL START DATE
March 15, 2021

 

APPLY TODAY!

New Additions to the ASTEP Staff

In this year of reflection and growth, we are thrilled to welcome two individuals into new roles within the ASTEP team: Alejandro Rodriguez and Kate Garst!


Some of you may know Alejandro, as he is a longtime ASTEPer, but please join us in welcoming him into his new role as ASTEP’s Deputy Executive Director!

Alejandro began his journey with ASTEP in 2006, at 18 years-old, as a volunteer teaching artist with the Art-in-Action (AIA) summer camp in Homestead, Florida, only half-an-hour south of where he was born and raised. After graduating with his BFA from Juilliard in 2009, he went on to coordinate both the AIA program as well as the Refugee Youth Summer Academy in Brooklyn, as well as contribute to nearly all other ASTEP offerings in a myriad of ways. In 2014, he inaugurated his own ASTEP program, the Artist as Citizen Conference (AAC), an immersive educational program that developed young artists by combining traditional arts classes and career skills workshops with speakers & panels on the subjects of citizenship, service & social justice. AAC was hosted at Juilliard  for six consecutive summers and positively impacted the lives of over 250+ young artists. He left New York in 2018 to pursue further experience in arts leadership, serving as the Associate Artistic Director of North Carolina’s premiere  professional theater company, PlayMakers Repertory. He returns to ASTEP in this pivotal time to work alongside its founder, Mary Mitchell Campbell, to help metabolize and activate the various lessons of 2020, and to assist in building a more dynamic, more inclusive, more sustainable foundation for ASTEP’s next 14 years of service.

“My journey at ASTEP has been, quite literally, from the bottom up. I’m excited to bring the solidarity I feel for all aspects of this organization — our superhero partners, our rockstar teaching artists, and of course, our incredible students — to bear on its continued evolution.” -Alejandro Rodriguez


Introducing Kate Garst, ASTEP’s new Director of Strategic Initiatives!

Where did you grow up? 
A proud Cornhusker, I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska.

Where did you work before joining the ASTEP team?
I’m departing The Atlantic Philanthropies which concluded its grantmaking of 8 billion dollars in September in alignment with the founder’s wishes to devote his wealth to the service of humanity. In the theatrical world, I worked with Jujamcyn Theaters, Stacey Mindich Productions, Korins Studio (formerly David Korins Design) and the Public Theater.

Do you have a background in the arts or teaching?
Theater has been an important part of my life since I was a child, and that passion fuels my professional life.

What is the most challenging part of your work?
I’ve never met a challenge I could walk away from.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Seeing the impact it has on people.

What about working for ASTEP are you most looking forward to?
Making an impact on the lives of children and their families. New York has been my home for 12 years, and I’m excited to join the ASTEP team who seeks to reach the children in our community through the arts.

What song best encapsulates your working personality?
All Together Now, The Likes of Us.

 

 

Introducing Musicians United for Social Equity (MUSE)

Since 2006, ASTEP has worked to harness the power of the arts to help children break the cycles of poverty they were born into. Still, we understand all too well that barriers to access and opportunity don’t cease when one enters adulthood — in fact, for many of our students and colleagues from historically marginalized communities, the industries they enter harbor their own interlocking and mutually-reinforcing biases. Broadway is not immune to this. That is why we are beyond proud to partner with MUSE, a multi-racial collective of Music Directors, Arrangers, Orchestrators, and Composers working to develop pipelines for musicians of color who aim to work in theater but are seldom granted access. Committed to cultivating more racial equity in the industry, MUSE will partner with like-minded organizations to offer, among other services: a free online database of musicians of color, music assistant fellowships, mentorship opportunities, education, outreach and more.

Please click here to learn more about this exciting and necessary new initiative.

Announcement! Jennifer Saltzstein Kaffenberger Fellowship recipients selected for RYSA 2020!

For a third year, ASTEP is honored to select two stellar Volunteer Teaching Artists as recipients of the Jennifer Saltzstein Kaffenberger Fellowship for their work with ASTEP Arts at RYSA 2020 Gladys Pasapera and Lindsay Roberts!

ASTEP provides the arts component of The International Rescue Committee’s Refugee Youth Summer Academy (RYSA), a six-week summer camp, which supports the personal growth, cultural adjustment, and education for 2oo young people who have recently resettled in New York City (ages 4-22) and helps them successfully transition into the US school system. 

The current global health crisis has prevented RSYA from being held in person, however, ASTEP and the IRC were committed to giving these kids the RYSA camp experience, albeit digitally! Even from a distance, we can still create a space to nurture school readiness, a chance to build English language and coping skills, and most importantly, build community so they can thrive when they enter the public school system in the fall.

Lindsay and Gladys are part of a team of 9 Volunteer Teaching Artists who are introducing students to Visual Arts, Music, Storytelling, Filmmaking and Dance. Camp began this week so our team has been working hard to convert our lesson plans to a digital platform. We like to say that artists have a natural ability to be adaptable and think outside the box so our everyone is having a positive and memorable experience so far!

The Fellowship is a unique opportunity for individuals who closely model Jennifer’s values to use the arts to celebrate a young person’s strengths and build up their unique areas for growth. Through Gladys’ visual arts and Lindsay’s music classes, they will help youth affected by immigration status break down the barriers they face by building the skills they require to create a new life for themselves in their new home.


“I am very grateful to ASTEP and to the RYSA team for selecting me as one of the 2020 Jennifer Saltzstein Kaffenberger Fellows. I look forward to sharing and creating music and memories with the students at RYSA this summer, especially as we all venture together into the unknown of digital classrooms, exploring new capabilities and reimagining thoughtful, responsive, and impactful arts education.” Lindsay Roberts, 2020 Jennifer Saltzstein Kaffenberger Fellow

“This is really exciting! I’m thrilled to be receive this Fellowship honor. I find so many similarities between Jennifer’s mission in life and my own: bringing our passion of arts education to everyone and establishing meaningful relationships. I’m excited to work my 6th summer with the Refugee Youth Summer Academy teaching Visual Art this year and continuing to bring the power of the arts to my virtual classroom. ” Gladys Pasapera, 2020 Jennifer Saltzstein Kaffenberger Fellow








ASTEP Changemakers Scholarship


We are thrilled to announce the ASTEP Changemakers Scholarship!

The ASTEP Changemakers Scholarship will award two $1,000 scholarships, each supporting a Black student who has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to social justice. This scholarship will support the recipients’ educational journey.

Eligibility- Must be a graduating high school senior and resident of New York City. This scholarship may be used at an accredited college, university, vocational, or technical training program. Of the two scholarships, one will be awarded specifically for a student attending an HBCU (Historically Black College or University). Former ASTEP students are especially encouraged to apply.

Applicants must submit either a video or an essay to answer the question:
How are you an agent of transformation toward social justice? Give specific examples from your life and personal beliefs.

Video Requirements: Must be a link (ex. unlisted on YouTube or Vimeo); Must be under 5 mins
Essay Requirements: Must be under 1,000 words; Must be in PDF format; File should be labeled FirstnameLastname.pdf
Applicants must also provide a personal reference

Submission deadline: July 31, 2020
Winners will be contacted by August 15, 2020

Click here to apply!

 

 

New Direct Relief Program: Filling the Food Gap

“You are all doing exactly what the title of your organization says that you are doing.
You are: “Artists Striving to End Poverty.”
– Judy Juster, Clinical Coordinator/After School Program Director at Abraham House

Direct Relief Program - Filling the food gap

We are excited to share the news that ASTEP has started a food distribution program, Filling the Food Gap, in partnership with the Red Hook Container Terminal and the NYCEDC. This program provides direct service, food distribution, to one of our partners Abraham House located in the South Bronx.

Over the past month, donations of fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, poultry, and meat have been delivered to support the students that we serve, as well as their families and the greater community. Many people who received food were excited by the quality of the food, as well as the fresh poultry and beef, as the majority of donations have been canned goods. With this program, we have been able to provide 3 deliveries of fresh food to over 1,800 people!

Check out this NY Daily News article that features Mike Stamatis, the owner of the container terminal, and the impact these donations have had.

To help us to continue supporting the needs of the communities we serve during this difficult time, please consider a donation to ASTEP’s Arts Resilience Fund.

Volunteer Spotlight: Ryan Kim

This week, our Volunteer Spotlight is on Ryan Kim!

Why do you volunteer with ASTEP?
At first going to Africa to work with a unique community sounded very exciting, which it certainly was, but as I got deeper into the experience of ASTEP/artsINSIDEOUT in my four years with the program, the impact on me grew. This work truly gives me life—creatively and spiritually. The relationships I have formed at Nkosi’s Haven with the students, mothers, teachers and staff have truly changed me. Creation is on the agenda every minute of every day.


What is your favorite memory from an ASTEP program?

It happens every year. Putting together a devised piece of theatre in a few weeks is no easy task. There is always the question of how/will it get done? It always does somehow, which is truly a miracle to behold. But it’s the little, fleeting moments that affect me the deepest. To observe a young person see their best friend, their younger sibling, their mom in a new light is inspiring. Watching Wesley (a magical kid) watching his grandmother proudly telling her story on stage in front of an audience is a moment I’ll never forget. And to see students begin to see themselves with fresh eyes, more loving and compassionate, moving from “can’t” to “can” is like watching hope and love in action.

Why is arts education important?
Without arts education, a powerful tool for growth and creativity would be missing and a vital outlet for positive self expression wouldn’t exist. When survival is the daily focus, the arts can easily be brushed aside. When we thoughtfully shine a spotlight on the creative side, survival suddenly has a new ally, friend and advisor and a new world of possibility is discovered or created.

What do you hope your students gain from your time with them?
I hope that students will leave thinking more strategically, focusing on their abilities more than their obstacles. I hope they care for themselves and their community more compassionately and with great love.

What have you learned from your students?
So much more than I could ever hope to teach them.

Any advice to share for new ASTEP volunteers?
Go in with an open mind and open heart. Inspiration just needs a little coaxing to ignite, then all things are all possible. Enjoy every moment!

Thank you, Ryan, for all that you do! This work is possible because of people like you!