ASTEP has been on an incredible journey

This year, ASTEP set out to highlight the stories of the children we serve worldwide, and we chose a fun and creative way to do it — a music video!

This video  features ASTEP students in Ecuador, India, South Florida and NYC, performing Carole King’s “Where You Lead”, accompanied by the amazing talent of ASTEP Volunteers and Supporters such as Kristin Chenoweth, Jonathan Groff, Debra Monk, Tituss Burgess, and many more!

It captures the children from each of our programs celebrating the transforming power of the arts as they perform Carole King’s “Where You Lead” and clearly demonstrates how art crosses all border and unites us together.

Like the video? Here are six easy ways you can join the ASTEP movement!

  • Share! Spread the word by sharing this video and use #ASTEPsings or @asteponline.
  • Connect! Sign up for our newsletter, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Volunteer! Apply to work with us as a teaching artist.
  • Learn! Bring us to your campus through the College Campaign.
  • Collaborate! Get involved in planning or attending ASTEP events.
  • Support! Help us change the lives of children across the globe through the arts by donating to us.

Thank you for being a part of our journey. Together we can make a difference!


ASTEP student Josh Flores describes his transformation through the arts!

Every year, ASTEP artists head to South Florida for the Arts-in-Action Summer Camp. Every year for the past four years, student Josh Flores has participated at those camps.

ASTEP volunteer Samip Raval created this video to share Josh’s transformative journey with all of us.

Experience Josh's Story here!

Josh is just one of many students whose lives have been transformed by the arts. We can’t wait to see where he will go from here!

Rocking out with refugee youth in NYC – RYSA Camp Blog!

Led by a team of 11 Volunteer Artists, ASTEP provided engaging creative arts classes during the Refugee Youth Summer Academy in partnership with the International Rescue Committee. 122 students experienced daily Visual Art, Story-telling, and Dance classes and on Fridays, took part in Field Trips to cultural locations in NYC, such as a special day at the Museum of Modern Art. The focus of ASTEP’s art programs are to provide refugee youth with a creative space to develop artistic abilities, strengthen their English language skills, build confidence, and transition to their new home.


ASTEP Volunteer Team

This fun video introduces you to our Volunteer Artist Team who dedicate their time and talent to the kids we serve! We couldn’t do this without them: Taylor Colleton, Max Freedman, Kelsy Henderson, Zoe Kumagai, Danielle McIntosh, Molly Page, Gladys Pasapera, Autumn Potter, and Anna Snapp.


Weekly Update


Weekly Update


Weekly Update


Weekly Update


Closing Video


Displaying the visual art portrait projects


Rehearsing the play that they wrote on their own!


Rehearsing the dance piece for the final performance!


Showcasing their large-scale artwork!

What’s been going on at our arts program in the Bronx?

ASTEP Volunteer Artist Lucie Baker, Adam Miller, and Kyle Netzeband spent the fall and spring semester leading after-school arts programming at Claremont International High School in the Bronx — visual art, dance, and drumming classes. Since the majority of the students are English Language Learners, the focus of our classes is to engage the students in language development through creative expressions as well as build their self-confidence and critical thinking skills.

This video shares the final project for the visual art class — screen-printing! Check it out!

Crafting their story: creative arts with refugee youth in NYC

ASTEP Volunteer Artists Tajh Rust and Enora Paugam walk us through their class art project with our refugee youth students at Brooklyn International High School. The students worked on creating books about themselves and used prompts such as “I come from…” or “When I was a child…” or “Some day I will…”. The notion of Identity was explored throughout the semester.

Each day, the students had an opportunity to write in their books and were given specific material to use to illustrate their story. Watch the video for a complete look!

ASTEP believes that the adjustment period after a refugee or immigrant child’s arrival to the U.S. is critical to his or her successful adaptation to school and their new community. We use the arts to break down the barriers they face and strengthen the abilities they require to create a new life for themselves in their new home. In addition, our Volunteer Artists serve as trusted adult role models, mentors, and educators who guide refugee and immigrant youth in making healthy decisions about their futures.

+ Learn more about our arts program for refugee youth in NYC.

+ Interested in volunteering? Visit our Get Involved page today!

Saturdays filled with creative arts

ASTEP Volunteer Artists Susanna Brock, Dani Lencioni, and Gladys Pasapera talk about the projects their students worked on during the Saturday Learning Series, a combination of visual art classes for children who participate in the IRC Refugee Youth Program (RYP). ASTEP has been providing arts classes through RYP for over three years and has loved watching the students and volunteers grow together.

A Journey to College: a one-act play

In the summer of 2011, ASTEP Volunteer Teaching Artist, Meera Kumbhani, wrote a one-act play titled, Journey to College. It was performed at the final performance of ASTEP’s Art-in-Action summer camp by Loni Mbele, Jairo Avila, and Ashley Perez. The piece highlights the challenges encountered by a diverse cross-section of youth in South Florida in their efforts to go and stay in college. A college sophomore seeking leniency from probation; a high school senior hoping her mom will support her aspirations; and a college junior demanding that more be done to educate students about what it takes to go to college.

Thanks to a grant by the Florida College Access Network, Journey To College has been performed six times since the summer of 2011. Aside from the initial performance during Art-In-Action, the piece was performed for School Board members, the Homestead City Council, and other visiting non-profit directors. The performance has been received positively by all of its audiences and has found new life thanks to a grant from the Florida College Access Network. ASTEP and enFAMILIA have recruited a new company of performers from the community of youth we work with! The grant will also go to funding a translation of the play into Spanish, and 3 performances (both English and Spanish) between November and March of 2013.

The following videos capture the transformative days of rehearsals.

Rehearsal 1:

Rehearsal 2:

Rehearsal: 3

Offering a safe space to heal.

In response to a recent shooting within the community ASTEP supports in south Florida, ASTEP and our partner, enFAMILIA, facilitated a workshop for the youth in the community to explore the power of destruction and creation and to offer a safe space to heal.

This video follows the students on their journey.

Thanks to Yazmany Arboleda, ASTEP Volunteer Artist, for helping lead the workshop with Mauricio Salgado, ASTEP Director of Domestic Programs!



Shanti Bhavan students create short animation videos…about PIRATES!

These two stop-motion animations are the result of a 5th grade collaborative art project during the 2011-2012 academic year, led by Shanti Bhavan Volunteer, Felicia Cleveland.

After learning the principles of making a stop-motion animation–imagine a flip-book using photos on the computer–each student designed their own story-board. Two were selected to be made into animations and both, coincidentally, were about pirates!

The 5th graders worked together in two teams to make the backgrounds, characters and props by hand and then transformed the photographs into the films with the help of Felicia.

It was a long, complicated process, and they worked extremely hard — well done 5th graders! We hope you enjoy these short animations!