I am so grateful I found Arts for All. They are one of my favorite companies I'm involved with in the city. AFA cares so much about their artists, the core message of empowerment through the arts that each of us tries to bring to our workshops, and the growing youth they serve.
Anna Roberts Ostroff and her team work ridiculously long hours and dedicate 150% of their energy to the flourishing of AFA programs and of everyone involved.
I'm so proud to be involved with AFA! Let them become one of your favorite bragging rights too and get involved! Together we can all make a difference.
I made some bold statements with my responses below all being the hightest marks I could give Arts for All. Please know, this was not merely me checking boxes, each high mark has been earned time and time again. Arts for All reaches out to in need children and teens within the metropolitan area of New York City. I have brought workshops to groups where one kid just lost his house to a fire, one teen boy's father just shot his mother, and quite a few are coming from abusive families. These are extreme circumstances, but real issues some of the students are coping with. Arts for All offers them an escape, an opportunity to channel the overwhelming weight they carry into creating or opening up in a new way. I remember volunterring at a hospital once with Arts for All and I met a 6th grade boy who had been dropped off by his family because he was too much to handle for them. His energy was indeed boundless, that of a young child, but it turned out that he was never given the opportunity to succeed in young adulthood. I suggested we create a book together. He revealed he did not know how to write. Turns out he also only had the reading level of a first grader as well. He expressed interest in learning but said it was too hard for him. We spent the remainder of the few hours writing out his story of what he did that day, sounding out each word as he wrote it. We wrote about what he ate for breakfast all the way through the time of being dropped off at the hospital. You never know what you might encounter from a volunteer or workshop at Arts for All, but you can rest assure that you are needed. Arts for All is very much needed.
I've been involved with AFA for a number of years. I've seen them grow from a small group of highly enthusiastic volunteers to a well organized foundation that is having quite an impact on those students whose schools do not have access to arts programming. Growing up in a public school system with extensive access to the arts, I know how important it was to my development as a student and an artist. I've been a part of fund raising events, taught workshops and participated in live performances for AFA. Their passion for their work and dedication to their mission is unequaled in this field and they have significantly touched the lives of so many students.
Arts for All is wonderful! I helped start it up back in 2003, and later became a teacher. An Arts for All artist came to my classroom to lead my ninth graders in a Shakespeare Workshop when we were reading "Romeo and Juliet." I was able to see the organization from the viewpoint of someone receiving the service instead of someone providing the service for the first time, and I realized that Arts for All is an even greater organization than I had thought. It provides much-needed arts programming to youth communities who need it most, often incorporating what the kids are learning in school in subjects from English to math and everything in between. As someone who has seen the work Arts for All does from both the inside and the outside, I cannot speak highly enough of this organization.
I have been volunteering with Arts for All since 2006. As a busy professional actor and educator, I appreciate that AFA makes it easy for me volunteer, providing flexible opportunities and communicating clearly regarding logistics and programming. AFA provides free arts and arts education to nyc communities who would often otherwise have none, promoting creativity, healthy self-expression, and supportive learning environments. The value of their work is written on the faces of children making masks at the community Halloween party, and the school students sitting in attendance at the play touring to their auditorium. It's been a pleasure to volunteer with AFA, running craft tables at events, acting in plays or working behind the scenes on programming.
I currently Intern with Arts For All, and I have been enjoying my time here with the organization. With just a small administrative board, the organization manages to reach thousands of children across New York City while maintaining a highly organized company. I am truly learning what it takes to run an efficient and successful non-profit during my time here with Arts For All. Something that is also essential to the success of this non-profit is the personal investment and commitment to their mission of spreading the arts and giving all children the opportunity to experience and learn through the medium of various arts. Arts For All is an exemplary organization and will continue to grow as their work continues to be seen as necessary in the community.
I've been volunteering with the Board of Directors of Arts For All for 6 months. The two elements which have impressed me most about the organization (aside from their mission, which I am passionate about), are the passion with which the staff and volunteers work to increase the number of young people who can benefit from opportunities in all types of art forms, and the approach of the Board of Directors. They are clearly incredibly committed to the mission and vision of Arts For All, are open and honest in their consideration of the challenges the organization faces and how these might best be met, as well as in reflecting on their own strengths and areas for development, and those of Arts For All. For an organization of this size, budget and maturity, Arts For All, it's Board of Directors, and it's management have far exceeded my expectations and I will continue to give my time to further the mission and vision, as I know it will have maximum impact.
The beautiful thing about my experience with Arts For All is that in a city like New York and with the everyday grind of being an actor/performer we don't really get that many chances to use our gifts or talents to give back, but Arts For All gives us the platform to do just that. I remember my first time volunteering at The Covenant House reading, playing games and bringing fun songs and music to the toddlers with another volunteer and how amazing it felt to see how much these little children would find joy the minute we walked in and wanted so much for us not to leave. You never know how powerful the expression of Art is in changing someone's life for the better, but Arts For All gives us as artists the opportunities to affect people in a lasting and beautiful way. I find that we all can get a little lost in our everyday happenings but when you take that time to share who you are and give a little back, it brings a wonderful clarity and focus back into my life. So as long as Arts For All continues to give me that chance I will always be thankful and joyous to give all I can to their purpose!
Upon moving back to New York City several years ago, I knew I wanted to work with children through the arts. After meeting with the Executive Director of Arts for All I was excited to go out into the field and use my skills to help grow this wonderful organization. Initially I thought I'd only want to teach and volunteer for a certain age group and discipline. It wasn't long before I began signing up for every possible workshop! Not only are the experiences with Arts for All rewarding, but the other artists and volunteers are some of the most talented and fascinating people I've ever met or worked with. Everyone who works with this organization truly has a passion for bringing the arts to kids in need. My volunteer work with AFA is very important to me. I am thankful to give back to my community and enable children to have a glimpse of the confidence and joy the arts bring. I have worked countless hours at our Barnes and Noble fundraisers, flyering, painting faces, singing to kids, making puppets and masks, and reading books. Why? Because Arts for All is worth all the effort I can possibly give. I simply cannot say no to such a great cause and to a staff who is kind and generous. As a teaching artist, I am constantly challenged and encouraged. When I am leading music with our Literacy Through the Arts Program(along with my hot pink guitar, there is no greater reward than to see the happiness on those smiling faces! I promote AFA every chance I get, and proudly tell everyone around me about the work I do! My hope is that this company and others like it will be able to continue to grow in a time where its mission is more important than ever! Arts for All!
My favorite aspect of Arts for All is their programs instill a confident sense of self, imagination and exploration to children who might not ever be given a chance to explore these traits. Arts for All plays an important role to the futures of many, including the collective future for all of us. I will never forget when I showed up at 'A Day at the Met' to give my tour. The lobby was buzzing with kids from all ages, quite a few in wheel chairs. The younger ones were excited while the teenagers, at first played, Too Cool for School. It was the most rewarding experience to see the teenagers transform from "I could care less" to "I couldn't care more!" By the end of the day they were fighting for my attention with each piece of art we walked by so they could tell me what they saw in art and how they related it to their own world. It is these types of experiences Arts for All brings to in need cn a daily basis. I know I am not the same after that day and I suspect either are the kids who attended.
I have only been volunteering with Arts for All for a short time, but I very much admire and appreciate the passion this organization has for providing arts programming to those who would not otherwise have the opportunity. Arts for All is run by caring and compassionate individuals who give endless support to their volunteers in the field. I am proud to be a part of this organization and I hope to see them grow so that they can build upon the great work they are already doing.