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 became a board member after my daughter became a participant in YAC programs. The connections she made to other students and staff were important at a time when she was struggling through teenage years. My daughter grew as a person, as a film maker and learned to see herself as agent of change. This gave her a sense of identity and purpose that infuses her life to this day.

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

I wish there were not a constant struggle for funds for this excellent organization.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I began my connection to Youth Action Coalition as a parent. My daughter graduated from participant in Girls Eye View to peer leader and then to participant and peer leader in Video Vanguard. I watched Girl’s Eye View transform the life of my 13 year old, full of 8th grade angst, depressed and isolated from her family and friends. Girl’s Eye View became a lifeline. I believe YAC holds out hope to our young people. I saw hope blossom first hand through the strength of my daughter’s growing connection to a community that took her in, gave her meaning and taught her the skills that would take her down the path to her passion. I have continued to be part of Youth Action Coalition as a Board member even after my duaghter has grown and moved on to other parts of her life. I believe strongly that this organization is a gem in our community.

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

the growth of the young people who move through it's programs. They find their voice, they learn they have the power to effect change in their community and they are respected for their insight and knowledge.

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

keep it's efforts focused on the needs of the youth it serves and the programming it delivers so well without the constant stress of funding them.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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