YOUTH ACTION COALITION INC

Rating: 5 stars   15 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights, Arts & Culture, Children & Youth

Location: P.O. Box 747 Amherst MA 01004 USA

Mission: Youth Action Coalition promotes youth empowerment through creative expression, community building, and social action initiatives. We help youth foster their natural talents as artists and build their strengths as community leaders and agents of change.
Target demographics: Our arts and media projects bring together youth from across the race/class/social spectrum, ages 12-18, offering access to free, high quality arts programming, helping youth break down barriers, and offering a safe space for shared dialogue and creative collaboration.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Arts-for-Change programs serves 60-80 young people annually
Geographic areas served: Amherst and Ware, MA and the surrounding communities
Programs:

Our Arts-for-Change project is comprised of individual programsinterwoven through a shared pedagogy of in-depth art training, social justiceeducation and community organizing.

Through our GirlsEyeView project (photography-based project for young womenrunning in Ware since 1997 and Amherst since 1999), members have launched over45 exhibitions of their work, sold their photographs, led discussions on issuesof growing up female, and engaged in exchanges between the members of Amherstand Ware. In this context they are coming together across the race/class divideand examining critical issues together and creating artwork that speaks totheir concerns.

Get Up Get Down—a social justice public art group active since2000—works with youth in Amherst to create public works that speak to theirconcerns as youth. They have created 2 large-scale 3-D murals (one in town andone in their high school) that speak about consumerism, the aftermath of 9/11and Hurricane Katrina, and identity politics in America, as well as manyindividual artworks, a puppet parade and hosted 2 regional youth conferences intheir early years. They have recently been commissioned to produce artworks andsignage for local businesses and individuals and are making a name forthemselves as youth artists with a mission.

In Video Vanguards (active since 2003), youth of color and allies worktogether as media producers, critics and educators, as they use their videoworks to speak to deep issues of race, class, gender, war, isolation,prejudice, homophobia, juvenile justice. VV has been a beacon for YAC,spearheading our anti-racism work through thought and action. Through thisproject dozens of our youth and adults have been to trainings, led workshops,and disseminated their work to wider audiences. In this space young people ofcolor come together with allies to talk about the effects of living in amajority white area and position their work around these issues.

Our newest program is

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I was an intern for the Youth Action Coalition for two years, and was so incredibly impressed with the effect they have on the Amherst and Ware communities in MA. YAC strives to provide a safe space for youth to be creative, build confidence, and learn about how they can improve their communities in meaningful ways. Their art and social justice-based curriculum is top-notch and engages youth to explore new art forms while learning about struggles that communities face in today's world. I would definitely recommend this program to youths in the area, as well as to community members who are looking for a meaningful organization to devote their time to.

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

expand it to more towns! I think YAC's youth programs would flourish in more towns than just Amherst and Ware. Hopefully they will eventually have the funds to do so!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I could not have more enthusiasm for this organization. YAC does such a great job empowering youth and giving them a safe place to learn and create and grow. I have learned how to be a great ally to youth through my time volunteering and I have found the most wonderful mentors. I have watched young people go from shy kids with some ideas about art to becoming leaders and activists in their schools and communities. It is so inspiring, and I know that the Youth Action Coalition has played a huge role in the lives of these young people.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful?