Nonprofit Spotlight: Young Audiences

Editor’s Note: Has your child ever come home from school excited and inspired about an assembly program or artist that came to their school that day?  The chances are pretty high that they were responding to a program brought to their school by Princeton based non-profit, Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania!

We’re thrilled to introduce you to Young Audiences (YA), an organization celebrating 40 exceptional years of working in our local schools throughout NJ & PA, to connect kids with quality arts programs.  Read on to find out what makes YA’s mission so vital, and how parents, teachers, artists and members of our community can support their programming and help provide the best in arts education for our children.

We asked YA: what is it about the arts that help young minds grow, develop and thrive? They shared with us that, “An arts-rich education provides a child with the ability to look beyond facts and figures and creatively meet new challenges as they arise. Plus, the arts make learning fun, providing an environment varied and compelling enough to engage even the most reluctant learners and providing day-dreamers with a classroom as rich as their imagination.”

Children just like Anthony…

With the help of grants, corporate funders, community partners and generous donors YA is able to provide transformative experiences to children like Anthony. A quiet 6th-grader from Manahawkin, NJ, Anthony found his passion and a new self-confidence through singing, dancing and acting, when the Young Audiences dance group, Illstyle & Peace, came to his school for a residency. Anthony was given the lead role—which he performed onstage in front of 800 students.

“Before that, I never imagined I would ever get on stage,” Anthony says. “Now I’m usually the first one to volunteer for things. I feel more confident now, if I’m performing or giving a speech in front of people.”

“If he had not gotten on that stage and worked with Brandon, it would have been just another school year,” says Anthony’s mom. “He’s grown so much, and his confidence is unstoppable.”

Anthony’s dad, Joe, calls the change in Anthony’s confidence level “priceless.”

Says Joe, “Like a lot of other people, I always thought kids got that kind of confidence from sports. But the camaraderie, the teamwork, the confidence—I’ve seen that magnified 10 times in the arts. It’s phenomenal, and it’s made me a true believer in the arts.”

Anthony story is just one example of the many children that Young Audiences works with each year. YA’s artists establish profound connections with students, through hands-on programs that transform how children view themselves—and the world.

YA’s programs are designed to be child-centered, outcome driven and measurably effective, providing children with the opportunity to experience quality art; understand the art form and its cultural context; create their own original art; and connect art to their own life and learning.   Their mission is to inspire young people and expand their learning though the arts and their goal is to continue to strive to reach every child every year.  Sounds pretty amazing, right?

Want to see for yourself what some of YA’s artists have to offer? Catch a performance by electronic violinist Caryn Lin and join teaching artist Michelle Marigliano as she guides children through an engaging art project at Bloomingdale’s in Bridgewater on May 18th.  It’s fun for the entire family! (You can also Shop for a cause at Bloomingdales that day to support Young Audiences!)

For details on upcoming fundraisers, program information, volunteer opportunities and all things YA, visit Young Audiences on the web, or be social with them on Facebook.