April 15, 2013
As a nonprofit professional with a decade of experience working with out-of-school time organizations, I am blown away by the work of Art Studio Miami. Since the organization has become part of the Healthy Out-of-School Time Initiative, I have had the delight of visiting the Art Studio Miami after-school program coordinated by Ms. Lisa Pike at Jesse J. McCrary Elementary School, twice. The first visit, I was impressed by the energy, enthusiasm and skillset of the youth. I was also astounded by the number of high-quality volunteer Ms. Lisa had to assist her with the kids. The second visit, I was absolutely astonished by how warm and affectionate the children were...not only did they remember me (from one visit), but they had hugs and smiles and lots to say to me! This level of openness by the youth is testimony to the fact that Ms. Lisa and the Art Studio Miami team creates an environment where it is safe to be expressive and where it is safe to trust adults...two attributes sorely needed for kids in this community. On this second visit, I was surprised to see another full team of professional, compassionate and thoroughly engaged volunteers working with the kids. Art Studio Miami's ability to attract, train, retain and manage volunteers is testimony to their high-functioning administrative leadership. They truly are making magic with the very little (in terms of resources) that they have to work with. I'm looking forward to witnessing Art Studio Miami evolve and grow to serve more students as I support them in becoming even more of a positive example of a holistically healthy environment for at-risk Miami-Dade County youth.
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MY ROLE:Professional with expertise in this field