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October 21, 2009

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October 21, 2009

I feel very fortunate to be working with this organization. ASTEP continues to contribute the heart and soul of art in regions of the world so starving for empowerment and creative solutions. As a Board Member I observe on a regular basis how wide the metaphoric net is cast for quality educators and artists wanting to contribute to a better world. Each day I leave the ASTEP office I find myself more optimistic and impassioned than I was when I arrived. The administration here does their absolute best to meet the needs of the children we serve as well as those of the volunteer artists we bring on board. I highly recommend anyone looking for an enriching experience to learn more about ASTEP.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the office where I work with the people who make it all happen. It never ceases to impress me how the people that run this machine can get so much accomplished and, yet, still find a way to laugh...often... I like that.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

observing how one individual's efforts make a noticeable difference. ASTEP is a small organization so there seems to be many ways one can make a tangible impact.

Ways to make it better...

more people knew about us. There is a great demand for arts programming and, thus far, the ASTEP team of volunteer artists is relatively small when compared to the demand.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

September 24, 2009

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September 24, 2009

My involvement with ASTEP has truly been a blessing in disguise. I was a Pre-med freshman walking onto the campus of New York University- without a clue of where I wanted to get involved and with whom. But then, I found ASTEP. I am not musically talented or artistically talented, but I can, wit admiration, express the overall enjoyment I have working with some of the most talented people of my generation. ASTEP has touched me in ways outside of my Pre-med bubble; we have worked with the community, provided poverty awareness, and spread the beauty of music and art. I couldn't ask for anything more out of a club.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

are the most appreciative and well rounded group of individuals of my acquaintance. They are inspiring and open men and women who truly believe in poverty awareness as well as the overall well-being of others.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

September 23, 2009

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September 23, 2009

I taveled to Port Elizabeth, South Afirca, in 2007 with this non-profit that brings arts education to kids living in poverty. My role there was as a filmmaker, to provide documentary evidence of the organization's work abroad. It ended up being a life-changing experience. We lived in a black township where unemployment and HIV rates were sky-high. The kids were so thirsty for the curriculum brought by ASTEP's volunteers. Best of all, it was not just ars gratia artis (art for art's sake), though that would have been enough. The curriculum addressed HIV awareness, sexual abuse role play, many things that these kids may not be equipped to handle but are, unfortunately, forced to face all the time. Best of all, it gave them a sense of mastery and confidence that was palpable. The highlight was a weekend trip to Johannesburg to see The Lion King. For children who had never left their neighborhood, a thirteen hour overnight journey was almost beyond the bounds of their imaginations. And that's the point. You could almost feel them begin to wonder: "What else is possible for me?" The greatest challenge this organization faces is connecting with local cultures and NGOs already in place. It is delicate. But I know ASTEP's directors aim to create an effect liaison with the areas they serve. On my visit, it seemed that the volunteers could have used more preparation for the living arrangements they would encounter. They lived in a nice house. But things like sporadic hot water and close quarters seemed to catch them by surprise. Either they were not well-informed or they were not flexible. But it is my understanding this snafu has been addressed in subsequent recruitment efforts. All in all, an extraordinary group doing essential work. High level of organization and a profound local impact.

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the documentary work I did. I performed interviews with the children before and after their experiences with ASTEP. Their sense of confidence and curiosity had grown immeasurably. I've never seen such a profound change in kids in so short a time.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

attempt to recruit people with an educational background.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Working with kids who are eager for contact with the arts.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Creative, self-motivated.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

fund arts education for an entire community, bending its long-term trajectory toward enlightenment and economic success. Or create pilot projects in many more needy areas.

Ways to make it better...

A bus on a long cold overnight journey had had a functioning heating system.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Recruitment of skilled volunteers who are not only great artists in their own right, but can be quickly transformed into educators.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

September 23, 2009

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September 23, 2009

ASTEP is a truly amazing organization. I was on the board and all I can say is that Mary Mitchell Campbell is an inspiring and committed leader. All the volunteers and staff have giant hearts and give of themselves so fully and freely. A heart can only get you so far without organization and Ms Campbell was wonderful about having meetings, gathering volunteers, seeing what people did best,using them wisely and then giving them room to grow. A tireless worker, Ms Mitchell and her team produced extraordinary fundraisers and benefits, with some awesome New York talent. I am humbled and awed by the vigor and dedication of the people behind this organization.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The determination to make the world a better place thru the youth of the world. To give them mentoring and creative outlets for their own self empowerment

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More feedback...

Ways to make it better...

More funding so they can realize their goals

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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