Program Manager Tiffany Ramos Answers our Creative Activity Kit Questions

Tiffany Ramos holds up Creative Activity Kits

After hearing from our partners that the young people we serve were experiencing zoom fatigue from virtual learning, or had limited internet access, our Program Manger Tiffany Ramos crafted the Creative Activity Kits as a zero-technology solution. 

We asked Tiffany some questions about the Creative Activity Kits, and loved hearing their perspective on the initiative!

Why was it important to start the Creative Activity Kits initiative? 

It was important to start this initiative because at the very beginning of 2021 we were hearing from our partners how most children were experiencing zoom fatigue in virtual programming. Since school had shifted to virtual learning, some children had difficulties with access and navigation, and others were no longer feeling engaged through virtual workshops due to long hours spent in front of a device. As a result, we thought to take a zero technology approach to our programming and shift to something that engaged children more tangibly. Our Creative Activity Kits offered the magic and joy of an ASTEP classroom in lieu of in person classes, for now ASTEP classes and Teaching Artists take form in the art supplies and activity workbooks created and shared with children. Through this initiative we’ve been able to continue to bring play and social emotional learning through the arts to children throughout New York City who are more likely to have limited creative outlets. 

How do you think the kits have impacted the communities we serve? 

We have received a great amount of positive feedback from partners and children expressing how joyful children have been while completing activities and playing with their supplies. I think this initiative has had a great positive impact on the communities we serve. I know much of the supplies we have shared with children have been popular, then there’s the added bonus that students get to keep these kits making it that much more impactful. We are giving the gift of art and access to materials to fully participate in creative exploration. We hope that children get to use their supplies for the activities we provide as well as everyday entertainment and allow them the opportunity to continuously engage in creative play. 

What are your three favorite items in the Creative Activity Kits? 

My three favorite items have been a dance ribbon, because the movement is mesmerizing, and it just so happens to be one of the children’s favorite items as well. I’m also a huge fan of the play doh, because it’s a great molding tool and play doh is just so much fun to squish. My third favorite item is the spin drum because I enjoy percussion, I think it makes such an interesting sound to play with and I hope our students feel the same curiosity towards this fun noisemaker.

Any other thoughts?

While we have not been able to be onsite and share space together with children, our Creative Activity Kits have brought such excitement to our partners, students, and our ASTEP team. I think each month has been a fun mystery for our students as they receive new activities each month, and our Creative Activity Kits offer new ways for ASTEP to engage with our community. We have heard how appreciative our partner’s onsite staff members have been to have resources in the classroom for students to focus on while maintaining safety protocols. 

Click here to help us continue our Creative Activity Kits initiative.

Join ASTEP in southern India this fall

This might sound crazy, but fall is right around the corner… can you believe it? It’s going to be here before you know it, and ASTEP has the an awesome opportunity to cure any and all of your post-summer blues.

This September, ASTEP is sending a team of Volunteer Teaching Artists to Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project in India to deliver a week-long arts camp that focuses on music, theatre, filmmaking, dance, and visual art. Together, ASTEP and Shanti Bhavan teach students that their voices matter, that their ideas have value, and that they are capable of transforming India and their communities. By bringing the arts to these children from India’s lowest castes, ASTEP provides students with the opportunity to develop their social and emotional skills and to imagine a world where anything is possible. All volunteers receive room and board and live on campus with the children.

Dates: September 5  – September 18

Application deadline: July 28,  2017

Location: Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project just outside of Bangalore

Who: All artists! We need a diverse team and hope that you are a part of it!



** Room and board is provided by ASTEP and Shanti Bhavan for all Volunteer Artists

** Email Aaron Rossini at aaron@asteponline.org or give us a ring at 212.921.1227 to learn more!




Volunteer in the Dominican Republic from Jan 7 – March 23, 2016



Mariposa DR Foundation_JanilkaWant to spend the coldest days of winter on a beach in sunny, beautiful Dominican Republic? Yeah, of course you do, that’s what we thought!

ASTEP is currently recruiting Spanish-speaking dancers and theatre artists for our six-week arts camp at the Mariposa Center for Girls, an after-school facility for girls in the Cabarete Community of the Dominican Republic. Volunteers receive housing, breakfast on work days, and a $250 stipend each month to cover additional expenses.

Application deadline: ASAP

Dates: January 7 – March 23, 2016

In addition to arts programming, the Center provides activities such as sports, academic tutoring, job training, health and wellness care with the belief that empowering girls will lift entire families out of generational poverty.

Email Aaron Rossini at aaron@asteponline.org to learn more!

+ Want to find out more about our partnership with Mariposa?

+ Visit Get Involved to learn more about becoming an ASTEP Volunteer Artist!








Art-in-Action 2015 – Magic: Creer para ver

This year’s Art-in-Action summer camp took place June 15 – July 10 for over 90 immigrant and migrant children living south of Miami. AIA enables these youth to build on their potential and become leaders in their community — as well as have an all-out fun time together!

A team of 9 ASTEP Volunteer Artists collaborated with 8 Local Artists to provide a diverse variety of classes in music, theatre, dance, visual arts, and our newest culinary arts, which not only allowed the students to be creative with food preparation but taught healthy eating habits. In addition, AIA organized a Family Day, inviting parents to participate in programming alongside their children, which equaled lots of laughter and big smiles. The 4-week arts camp culminated in a performance for the entire community with over 150 people attending! This event not only highlighted the student’s work but also helped strengthen the community through creative and celebratory events in a safe space.

Thank you to the incomparable team of Volunteer Artists who made this all possible: Devon Fitol, Raymundo Gutierrez, Cris Akeroyd, Halle Townes, Janilka Serrano, Tiffany Ramos, Aaron Anthon, Allyse Corbin, led by ASTEP’s Director of Programs and Evaluation, Lizzy Rainer

 

 

South Africa revisited

artsINSIDEOUT – Johannesburg, South Africa

A team of 18 Volunteer Artists recently wrapped up artsINSIDEOUT2015, which took place from June 28 – July 11 for over 150 kids at Nkosi’s Haven, a residential facility for mothers and their children who are affected by HIV/AIDS. In addition to the traditional visual art, storytelling, music, and dance workshops offered, this two-week arts camp offered an engaging stagecraft class! The program culminated in a final performance at the historic Market Theatre in Johannesburg for the entire community — it was an inspiring evening for everyone who participated. For a chance to see the show, check out the video above!

The single most determinative factor in the lives of the people we work with will be their ability to tell their stories and to believe that their stories matter.

SETTING THE STAGE

BY VICTOR COLON, ASTEP VOLUNTEER ARTIST

My job is to educate through the arts: to model human, share perspectives, and broaden the imagination of our young students.

Through the stagecraft class we implement the set design for the final show that we are creating with the children. In our class each student is granted the freedom to be creative and responsible. We guide them so they can give their best without fear of making mistakes, laugh and learn from them creating beautiful arts expressions.

I get up early in the morning to start to work with the section of kids with the incredible team of kids, aged 5 to 12 years, who have tremendous energy and a huge desire to help in any way they can. The discipline and brotherhood is important in our work, they listen to each other and respect the decisions of their peers, which is a fundamental part of our education. After lunch we work with the next group of young girls and boys between the ages of 13-18 years old. It is WONDERFUL to have this gender diversity because it makes us a unique and special group providing opportunities to all alike, breaking the stereotypes that the only ones working on building scenery and lighting are involved with men.

The creativity and discipline of these students are amazing and I have no doubt at all that our final stage will be a beautiful and artistic collaboration from all of them and for the rest of the majors: music, dance, improv, storytelling and also Mums. Our main interest is that by recycling all materials that we see in our surroundings, we can make big scenes without relying on big budgets and because they simply do art inside and outside of major infrastructure, having less is more. I love art, I love my work as an artist and educator, and this experience lead me to love education. I learn that to be a teacher in the arts you have to be open and involved in the needs of each individual and merge with the group, so we all learn at the same time, so all we educate taking initiatives that refresh our values ??and our knowledge in everyday life. I love being here at Nkosi’s Haven in South Africa helping, sharing and learning with all this unique people, and it seems like I was living here for months. Being a good teacher requires enthusiasm, interest, love, consciousness but especially to be a guide to freedom of knowledge for each of our students.

Thank you to each of the Volunteer Artists who made this entire experience a success! We couldn’t have done it without you:

Alejandro Rodriguez, Alison Green, Ali Stroker, Anastacia Valles, Dumisani Khanyi, Dylan Moore, Evan Todd, JR., Ezra Lowrey, Jawan Jackson, Jennifer Newman, Kobi Libii, Mosoeu Ketlele, Rachel Lynn Haas, Riegerdt Deetlefs, Roelf Daling*, Stompie Selibe, Thembile Tshuma, Víctor Colón, and Yazmany Arboleda.

Volunteer in India

Engage in the transforming power of the arts!

 

ASTEP is currently recruiting musicians, dancers, and visual artists for our three-week arts camp at Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project, a school and home for economically and socially disadvantaged children outside Bangalore, India. With a team of 5-10 volunteer artists, ASTEP’s arts camp transform the school into a place of creativity, performance and ol’ fashioned silliness for the 300+ students at who live there.

Application deadline: July 17, 2015
Dates: September 6 – 23, 2015

Email Lizzy Rainer at lizzy@asteponline.org to learn more!

+ Want to find out more about our partnership with Shanti Bhavan?

+ Check out photos from our most recent camp in May!

 

There should be no dividing line between artistic excellence and social consciousness.

For 59 young artists interested in combing their artistic practice with their pursuit of a better world, ASTEP presented our 2nd annual Artist as Citizen Conference from June 7 – 12, 2015 at The Juilliard School.

At ASTEP, we work with children. We put artists in classrooms around the world to share their passion with kids.

In a larger sense, we’re part of an evolving, nationwide conversation on the role of the artist in society. There are articles published on the subject everyday – the landscape of the arts is changing and so are the opportunities available to artists. Meanwhile, the social emotional skills the arts help to develop are increasingly viewed as essential for success in today’s knowledge-based economy.

The Artist as Citizen Conference is an opportunity for ASTEP to help spread this powerful ideal nationwide — and with it, the remarkable culture of service it represents.

It’s been talked about for years. Innumerable blogs have discussed it. The New York Times recently chimed in. There is a movement afoot. A return to meaning in the arts. A return to impact. As one curator put it, “Marcel Duchamp’s toilet is being returned to the bathroom.”

The Conference is about putting the riches of the first network at the disposal of the second. Its mission is to celebrate, connect, and develop young leaders in the arts by providing them with a transformative artistic and educational experience in the heart of New York City.

Why? Because developing motivated young leaders in communities across America is a way for ASTEP to expand the reach of its mission exponentially.

Which means more kids. Exposed to more art.

Celebrate. Explore. Create!

SB Camp_May 2015_1w
Thank you to our incomparable team of Volunteer Artists who led our May 2015 Art Camp at Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project: Kalee Burrows, Gabby Deede, Carolyn Fry, Harrison Fry, Brian Gnojek, JJ Krehbiel, Lauren Morris, Lizzy Rainer, Midori Samson, Aaron Umsted! Working together for three weeks in May, these volunteers helped wind down the academic year by transforming the school into a place of play, creativity, and ol’ fashioned silliness for the 300+ students at Shanti Bhavan, a school and home for children of the lowest caste, located south of Bangalore.

The camp theme: Celebrate, Explore, Create!

The volunteers taught classes in the visual arts, music, dance and theatre with concentrations in areas such as musical theatre and even comic-book creation class! In addition to the classes, there was a focus on “camp-fun activities” such as scavenger hunts, water balloon fights, and even roasting s’mores, a first for the kids!

Beyond simply teaching artistic skills, the focus of ASTEP’s Art Camps provide the children with a safe space to develop important life skills such as creative problem solving, self-confidence, leadership, and collaboration — skills that will help them on and off the stage. Plus, a chance for a child to truly be carefree and play will do so much for their overall health and wellbeing.

The art camp culminated with Shanti Bhavan’s graduation ceremony where the students showcased their artwork and special performances for the community of staff, family, friends and supporters!

Last minute recruiting: 1 dancer for the Refugee Youth Summer Academy!

RYSA 2014_Week 2_11w

Do you want to have a life changing experience this summer?

ASTEP is currently recruiting one dancer to join our Volunteer Team to teach at the 6-week Refugee Youth Summer Academy in NYC, presented in collaboration by ASTEP and the International Rescue Committee. Volunteer Teaching Artists will work collaboratively to create and implement a unique curriculum that uses the arts to build English language proficiency and social emotional skills.

  • Volunteers need to be comfortable working with English Language Learners.
  • Volunteers are on-site two days a week, 3 hours a week, from 12PM-3:30PM for 6 weeks.
  • Training takes place June 30 – July 2
  • The program runs from July 6 – August 20

Email Abby Gerdts at abby@asteponline.org to learn more!

+ Want to find out more about our partnership with The IRC?

+ Check out our blog from RYSA 2014!