Los Angeles Area High School Students Find a Path to Graduation Through Art

The HeArt Project is designed specifically for kids who have struggled in traditional educational environments and are at risk of dropping out of high school.
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For the past several years, I've served on the board of the HeArt Project, a youth-focused arts and education non-profit organization based in Los Angeles. The HeArt Project is designed specifically for kids who have struggled in traditional educational environments and are at risk of dropping out of high school. Founded in 1992 out of a desire to engage these continuation school students, the organization uses arts training and education to help them envision a way forward and become active participants in their future.

Far beyond simply a feel-good effort, The HeArt Project builds concrete creative expression programs and workshops in alternative classrooms and community day schools, augmenting the very limited existing arts curriculum. By connecting working creative professionals and LA's artistic institutions with at-risk students, our programs provide insights and tools for personal development that students can take into adulthood.
Personally, I remember being drawn to producing art as a teenager--from sanctioned to illegally on walls--and finding my life's motivation far outside what school offered me. As I struggled to maintain the discipline my education required, ink, paint and paper were my saviors. Many alternative high school students grapple with far more than a lack of inspiration, facing teen pregnancy, unhealthy homes and destructive neighborhood environments. Above it all, they're simply not expected to amount to much.
As a product of LA's public school system, and having barely graduated before eventually finding my path at community college, I can personally relate to kids who struggle to fit into mainstream education. This is especially true in a system that is chronically underfunded, overcrowded and partially complicit in America's obscene dropout rates. The HeArt Project works through public and private funding with the express purpose of moving kids to graduation and hopefully on to college. If art can be the catalyst for a diploma, we should all support that.
The HeArt Project's 18th Annual Evening of Art benefit fundraiser is this Thursday, June 3rd at the California Science Center, near downtown, LA. If you're in the neighborhood, please consider joining us for dinner and an art-filled silent auction. Tickets are available here. Alternatively, you can simply make a donation now or anytime in the future. As our failing public education system in America comes under increasing scrutiny and innovations spring up left and right, I'm proud to be supporting part of the solution. In The HeArt Project's case, the transformative power of the arts is pointing students in the right direction for success.
For more information, please visit theheartproject.org

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