Mission: To connect performing and visual artists with underserved youth and awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking skills, and help break the cycle of poverty.
About the Organization: Founded in 2006 by Broadway musical director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and students from the Juilliard School, Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP) works to transform the lives of youth using the most powerful tool they have: their art. In the belief that the arts can show every child their voice is important, ASTEP partners with schools and community organizations serving vulnerable children to teach kids the skills they need to succeed in school and life.
Current Programs: ASTEP works collaboratively with partner organizations in New York City, South Florida, India, and South Africa to craft program models that meet the needs of their student populations — including youth affected by immigration status, homelessness, gun violence, the criminal justice system, HIV/AIDS, systemic poverty, and/or the caste system. Through afterschool workshops and summer camps, ASTEP Volunteer Artists use the performing and visual arts as a vehicle for teaching students social and emotional skills, helping them become better communicators, building their confidence to participate, and teaching them how to solve problems by thinking outside the box.
In New York City, ASTEP on STAGE! brings performing and visual artists to afterschool and in-school programs for underserved youth and, by introducing students to new art forms and new artists, provides them with the opportunity to try new things and discover role models from all walks of life. In South Florida, ASTEP partners with enFAMILIA, a community organization serving immigrant, migrant, and farm worker communities, on Art-in-Action, a four-week arts education and empowerment summer camp for youth in south Miami-Dade. ASTEP's programs in India include two-week art camps at the Shanti Bhavan Children's Project, a school and home for economically and socially disadvantaged children outside Bangalore, while in South Africa, artsINSIDEOUT supports Nkosi's Haven in Johannesburg, which offers holistic care and support for destitute mothers living with HIV/AIDS, their children, and AIDS orphans.
In addition, the ASTEP Leaders Network brings together educators, activists, and organizers around the globe who are creating ASTEP chapters and using the arts to strengthen and develop their communities.
Website: Visitors to the ASTEP site can learn more about its programs, follow the blog for the latest news and updates, find out how to apply to be a volunteer artist, and/or support the organization.
Funding: ASTEP is funded by foundations and individuals.