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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Artists Striving To End Poverty Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Performing Arts, Philanthropy, Voluntarism Promotion, Youth Development Programs

Mission: ASTEP uses the arts as a tool to empower young people with creativity, knowledge, and a strong sense of self-esteem, factors which help them advance their lives and communities. At ASTEP, we provide artists with opportunities to connect with global youths, allowing them to use their gifts to create meaningful and effective change for young people in need.

Target demographics: underserved youth experience the transforming power of the arts

Direct beneficiaries per year: close to 1,000 children!

Geographic areas served: USA, Africa, India, Ecuador

Programs: after-school arts education programs and multi-week art camps.

Community Stories

122 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ASTEP has changed my life as much as it has changed the lives of the children we serve. As a an artist and a teaching artist it often feels as though our lives are a series of the highest peaks and the lowest valleys. I can think of no better way to begin the climb "out of the valley" than using my art to meet the needs of the underserved. ASTEP gives that opportunity. It is an organization that allows its volunteers and its support staff to gain as mush as they give.

Review from Guidestar

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ASTEP gave me a direction to move towards. Because I have done this program, I now know what kind of career path to move towards and why art was so inspiring to me all those years ago. The program is so well coordinated and pushes you enough that you are forced to learn a new set of skills or flex old ones. I felt safe, cared for, and appreciated. It was a great environment to fly in.

Review from Guidestar

3

Advisor

Rating: 5

ASTEP doesn't just put artists in a classroom, they dive deep in their volunteer training and focus on effective teaching methodologies as well as how to be a role model to the kids they work with. ASTEP makes magic! And with a small staff, they have an actual impact on the lives of the children they serve.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 2

ASTEP's mission--to empower disenfranchised youth through the arts--is unique and powerful. The organization serves several under-served communities both domestic and abroad. Through my experiences and from what I have heard from those who volunteered in South Africa and India, I believe their domestic programs are much better established and have fewer organizational kinks. ASTEP has incredible potential and it seems that as it is changing leadership, it is improving both in terms of impact and professionalism. I would certainly recommend volunteering one's time in Florida or NYC, but am hesitant to commend their work abroad. As ASTEP starts to recruit more heavily through Idealist.org and other formal sources, they will hopefully establish more professional leadership, preferably from industry professionals with demonstrated international development experience. Currently, ASTEP suffers from the same three drawbacks that seem rampant in any nonprofit: 1) A high degree of nepotism and croneyism, 2) Poor communications, and 3) an absentee founder. But again, like any nonprofit, their work may outweigh the negatives. A friend of mine spent a substantial amount of time volunteering with ASTEP in India and while I would not put up with some of the things she shared with me, she seemed to have an overall positive experience.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first heard about AStep after agreeing to perform in a benefit concert several years ago. After watching the videos about the organization, the people it helped, its generous mission and altruism, I was moved to volunteer my time for it whenever I could. I am amazed at how much the volunteers who travel to India give of themselves to the incredibly neglected children they serve.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

14

Donor

Rating: 4

I have worked as a volunteer with ASTEP helping to secure volunteers, funding, awareness and programs to help this new organization get established. I've attended benefit concerts and coordinated gift bags for donors plus coordinated materials to be sent to the orphanages and camps where they work. The vision of Mary Mitchell Campbell and her staff is extraordinary and must continue to be nurtured. I would love to see them with a stronger structure of checks and balances so that all efforts are coordinated seamlessly. In particular, I'd love to see them with a Marketing coordinator that will keep the public informed of events and opportunities to serve. They have done a marvelous job of securing volunteers to travel and work with the children, but I'm positive that with a person in place to be more pro-active and detailed in asking for donations, they will thrive and be able to do even more. I'm amazed at what they have accomplished.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ASTEP connected me with opportunities to use my personal skill sets in a way that helps others. I went to them with the talents I have to offer (performing, graphic design/layout,etc.) and they put me to work! They use their resources, both physical and fisical, very well. With a small core group they are always friendly, approachable, and easy to contact. They maintain a large and growing volunteer force and I look forward to seeing ASTEP's continued world wide impact, as well as my personal involvement in their efforts.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a truly inspiring group of people to know. It is one thing to have great talent; but, to have that talent and combine it with the passion to share it and nurture it in others is completely different. To use that talent to help other towards the great gift of self expression and improve the human condition is of incalculatable value. I would someday like to find my way to giving in the capacity in which these people do. It again is very inspiring...

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ASTEP, Artists Striving to End Poverty, and all of the individuals connected with the organization are some of the most dedicated and selfless people I have ever encountered. My experience as a volunteer for their summer program in Homestead was a pivotal moment in my life. From start to finish, the experience was incredibly positive and fulfilling for both the faculty and the students. ASTEP's contributions to humanity are remarkable, and I feel so blessed to have come in contact with this magnificent group of people.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience is watching a great number of my friends create their organization and pour their heart and souls into working with these children. The volunteers of ASTEP are some of the most talented artists I know, yet they all put working with children first on their priority list, and their own careers second. That's love and dedication!

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with ASTEP has changed who I am and what I live for. They are an extremely well organized group made up of passionate and driven artists that believe that arts education can stop the poverty cycle. And through my experience with them, I am now a believer of this concept too and will continue to dedicate much of my time to help it come true. I have absolutely no complaints.

11

Donor

Rating: 5

These young people give 100% effort in making other peoples lives better. Great role models. I have seen thank you notes written by children that they touched. The group has done wonderfull projects. They were appreciated and welcomed, like a ray of sunshine in the lives of many children.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with ASTEP changed my life forever; and even though I have been on a slight hiatus from them, those experiences continue to impact my life for the better. Above all, the best thing about the organization is that everyone who decides to get involved is passionate about what they are doing, and are doing it for the right reason. It is not a charity that is there just for the sake of being a charity, but it is there because they actually want to complete their mission to change lives for the better. And they will stop at nothing to achieve just that. ASTEP in the right direction!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to Bangalore, India two summers ago to volunteer at the Shanti Bhavan School through ASTEP. It continues to be one of the most pivotal experiences of my life. The time I spent there opened my eyes to a world that I had never seen or been exposed to before. There are no words to describe the impact that the children I met and worked with at Shanti Bhavan had on my life. And it would have never been possible without the help of ASTEP. ASTEP is like no other non profit, in that they do not charge young artists, such as myself, to pursue a calling for overseas outreach. When I was looking into international outreach, I looked into many organizations. ASTEP was the ONLY organization that didn't charge me thousands of dollars (not including plane fare) to go and help others globally. In face, ASTEP gave me a list of ways to fundraise the only money I would need to go...my plane fare. I was able to raise the money I needed to travel without a huge dent in my wallet. I also had the honor of working at shanti Bhavan with Mary Mitchell Campbell, the founder of ASTEP. Mary Mitchell is undoubtedly one of the most incredible and inspiring people that i have ever met. With a career blooming on Broadway, she continues to focus all that she has on ASTEP and keeping this unique and one of a kind organization alive and thriving.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started out as a facilitator with astep, many moons ago. I believe i was part of the AIA camps on its second year, and i've been involved since. I now am a program coordinator for the summer camps. It has changed my life and brought me in touch with whats going on the world around me.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

ASTEP has got to be one of the most reliable, genuine non-profits out there. It was established by a group of college students attending Juilliard whose only plan at the time was to give their time and energy through the arts to help as many people as they can. It has quickly evolved into an intense network of giving. The administration behind this organization is a young, generous group of individuals who put aside their career dreams as dancers, actors and musicians so that they could help as many children through the arts as possible. Living overseas in Uganda and working with former street children, I have experienced how powerful art can be to children who have had to deal with a great deal of suffering in their lives. I fully support this organization's mission and future vision.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ASTEP is an incredible organization run by inspiring and capable artists. Their programs have greatly changed the lives of their volunteers and those attending their workshops. They are leading a movement that is critical at this point in the world's development. A friend of mine told me of her time in South Africa and how she was able to change and be changed during her experience there. Specifically she has more respect and information about the culture there and in turn left her students with more confidence and body articulation than they previously had.

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I'm a huge fan of ASTEP! The one on one connection with children who need our help is what makes this organization stand apart from others. I have two dear friends who traveled to India as part of an ASTEP outreach program and spent two weeks in the trenches with some of India's poorest and forgotten kids. Hearing about their journey was live changing.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ASTEP is truly amazing. They provide such love and care to everyone they encounter. They taught me a lot about reaching out to others.