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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Creating Communities Corporation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education

Mission: Our Vision: To create communities where the arts are an integral component of our social fabric; where the power of creativity connects, enriches and transforms lives. Our Mission: To harness the power of the arts to build life skills and self-esteem, and foster connections across cultures. We seek to partner with communities and provide underserved populations with direct access to the arts through innovative programs and mentorships.

Results: Creating Communities Quick Facts • Key partners: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Arts Council of Anne Arundel County, Whole Foods of Annapolis, Baldwin Family Foundation, Carol M. Jacobsohn Foundation, Graham Landscape Architecture, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Maryland State Arts Council, Maximus Properties, Parole Rotary • Approximately 20% of the families served by the youth programs have an income of $26,000 or less; one-third of these families describe their economic condition as “barely making ends meet.” • The Arts Mentorship Academy (AMA) has served nearly 300 children age 8-17 since 2008 and has grown over 270% since that time. • 93% of parents believe that the lessons learned through the artistic and creative activities of the AMA benefit their child academically • 95% of the students shared what they learned with their parent or guardian, demonstrating that the arts bring families together • 100% of parents/guardians stated that they thought the AMA taught their child positive life skills and 73% noticed talents in their child of which they were not aware • 100% of parents/guardians were “very satisfied” with the AMA. • 91% of the participants, in a recent Life Skills Through Arts session felt they would apply the lessons learned outside of the program and 89% would continue to use the lessons learned after leaving the shelter.

Programs: Programs That Change Lives The Arts Mentorship Academy (AMA) program is one example of Creating Communities at work. AMA is an Arts-based alternative education opportunity for young people ages 8 to 17 providing Arts instruction, mentoring, and experiential learning. The program also focuses on teaching academic competencies based on Maryland State Voluntary Curriculum standards. The program teaches artistic skills while it fosters community service. It also teaches life skills such as leadership development and teamwork, which in turn build self-confidence and self-reliance. The Arts Mentorship Academy serves 100 students and runs for one week in the summer, with occasional weekend intensives and after school sessions. A typical day at the Academy begins with the teachers/mentors leading students in an interactive session. Students then break out into smaller groups to work closely with master artists, followed by collaborative art projects such as creating murals, participating in a drumming circle, or choreographing a group dance. Another program, The Youth Arts Fellowship (YAF), is an innovative arts-based alternative education opportunity that provides instruction, mentoring, and experiential learning for twenty Annapolis and Anne Arundel County 10th to 12th graders. YAF is designed for students who are particularly challenged by traditional curricula and who need additional support to assist them in reaching personal and academic goals. Students meet one Saturday per month for ten months for an all-day retreat. The teacher-to-student ratio is 1:4 enabling personal mentoring and special attention to the needs of each student. Field trips to the Kennedy Center, Baltimore Museum of Art, and Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts broaden and enrich the student’s experience. The group also takes part in three, arts-based community service projects, giving back to the wider community while strengthening the social fabric. Not only youth but also adults are benefited from Creating Communities’ programs. For example the Life Skills Through The Arts track includes an eight-week program for parents residing at Sarah’s House. Located in Anne Arundel County, Sarah’s House is a supportive housing program offering emergency shelter rooms and transitional apartments for families that are homeless. The typical family consists of a mother and two children. More than 55 percent of the residents served annually are children. In FY2010-2011, over 325 children lived at Sarah’s House. Poetry, music, drawing, and storytelling, are just a few of the means used to develop life skills and encourage learning.

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