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...
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.
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.
I had heard about Astep through friends and was excited about what they do so I decided to attend a benefit. I was amazed. They are such incredible people with volumes of passion and love. What they're doing across the globe is astounding and inspiring.
ASTEP is filled with dedicated artists who strive to bring arts education to children who might not otherwise have access to the arts. These children are frequently at risk (members of gangs, from broken homes, with HIV/ AIDS) and ASTEP helps them find their own individual voices and instill faith in themselves. I spoke with the founding members when ASTEP was just a seed of an idea, and have seen it develop since then into an international organization. I have also spoken with the children and seen the real difference ASTEP has made in their lives.
I have attended several ASTEP events and have been incredibly impressed by not only the passion and commitment of those who represented the organization, but also by the excitement, compassion, and generosity of spirit that those individuals inspired. The ASTEP mission strikes me as one that not only strives to bring dignity and hope to people who are severely lacking both, but also to find a common humanity and sense of purpose through art and love. Through pictures, film, and personal accounts, I've seen the overwhelmingly emotional and joyous experiences that have been shared on the other side of the planet through ASTEP.
Marrying the needs of the Third World Children ( education, hope,nurturing..a FUTURE) with the needs of the young US performing artist who has the energy and time to try to make a difference and give back for what living in the US has given them ...is such a brilliant WIN/WIN solution for the dilemma of winiing the hearts and minds of future generations in these crucial developing parts of the world.
I have been fortunate to watch and observe ASTEP's amazing work over time. The extent of the work they do is amazing and done with complete selflessness. They exist only to make the people they help lives better.
ASTEP is amazing. Its goal is nothing short of miraculous--help impoverished children across the world learn how to free their voices, love themselves, and feel empowered, all through exploring the arts. ASTEP takes music, theater, dance, visual arts, and more to places where these programs do not exist at all. But ASTEP does not just teach indigent children how to do art--ASTEP uses the arts as a lens through which the children learn about HIV/AIDS, self-expression, and self-sufficiency. I have heard so, so many stories about ASTEP children feeling stronger, happier, more powerful, and actually freer after participating in an ASTEP program. The program is so unique, because it has artists of the highest caliber teaching children who have been abandoned and who otherwise might never even see a play, let alone be in one, or even write one! Many children across the world, not just in impoverished areas, have no arts education. What an incredible thing to bring this most important subject to the places where people most need beauty and a forum to express themselves. I am so proud of ASTEP's efforts, and feel privileged to be involved with this incredible organization.
I have had the honor to witness the continued growth of ASTEP over the past few years and I am consistently impressed with their organization. Their creativity, strength of leadership, and dedication are an inspiration