Passport to Prevention, a restorative arts program in partnership with Davidson County Juvenile Court and Metro Arts
Above pictures are of Global Education Center staff and teaching artists training Nashville Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center staff.
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Global Education Center's Roots, Rhythm & Rhyme Passport to Prevention Restorative Arts project was first piloted in the Spring of 2017 through awarded PIP funds from the Mayor's Office and Metro Arts. The program was designed to inspire youth in the Juvenile Detention Center to find an art form that enables him or her to express frustrations, sorrows, anger, humor and joy in a positive, self-affirming manner in hopes of preventing recidivism and to foster better decision making and expressive outlets. The program has expanded to include diversion programming for youth who are not incarcerated and to families of court-involved youth.
This initiative is allowing Global Education Center to reach marginalized youth caught in the juvenile justice system, many of whom are vulnerable to entering the adult prison system. We have curated programming that is culturally based to teach historical, cultural and social information that can address common struggles of minority and indigenous communities and help youth garner strength, empathy and social-emotional health. With additional support from South Arts through their Cross Sector Impact Funding, we were able to expand Passport to Prevention in 2018 to include programming for families of court-involved youth in addition to our classes for incarcerated youth. Funding support from Tennessee Arts Commission and Metro Arts enables us to continue this vital programming on a yearly basis.
Programs in the detention center have included:
Students explore various dance styles, including tap, contemporary, majorette as well as choreography to help students express themselves through movement, gestures and creativity.
Research has shown the physiological and psychological benefits of therapeutic drumming and that learning complex drum patterns and building intricate rhythms can improve thinking and academic skills.
Yoga, Mindfulness & Movement
Yoga is a powerful tool that has been proven to help shape the young and often stressed-out minds of today. Benefits can include improved test scores, self-esteem, physical performance, and a healthy body image. These benefits bear more weight for the youth that we serve and the particular struggles that they experience.
Music Production and Studio Recording
Creating music and studio recording can help youth express and share their feelings while also allowing social stimulation, cognitive stimulation, stress management and sensory environment stimulation. As this program grows, we hope to expand our studio recording and create a system by which incarcerated youth can share their music with family, friends and the larger community.
Students learn to express themselves as they create their own stories as well as learn acting techniques while working with scripts that reflect stories similar to their own, providing them a way to work cooperatively, build empathy, and creatively release fears and frustrations while embracing the joy of acting.
Students experience drawing, painting, and multicultural craft-making, enabling them to explore various mediums and techniques in a quest to both find their inner child and express their experiences in ways that can be shared with others. Students have created tie-dye t-shirts with positive messages that they donated to patients at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital; they learned the art of sugar skull making to better understand the Day of the Dead; they are learning painting techniques that we are hoping will lead to the ability to paint a mural in their garden area.
Creative Writing and Mentoring
Students learn to find voice and reflect on their emotions and experiences, including their current situation, through an interdisciplinary program of writing, movement, and visual arts under the direction of a mentor who helps each student learn the art of keeping a journal for exploration and reflection.
Programs for court-involved youth and families include continuation of the above activities as well as participation in any of our ongoing classes for children, teens and adults, such as, to name a few, and inter-generational activities such as our Family Fitness Fun events.
Capoeira is a creative and effective tool for developing balance, coordination, flexibility, and an awareness of one's own body. Its use of music, song, dance and acrobatics motivates youth to participate. This activity also builds self esteem and helps to develop a sense of identity as a member of a larger community while learning about Capoeira's powerful force for overcoming oppression and building resilience.
Zumba® is not just a fitness regime but a creative cultural outlet of dynamic dance moves. Benefits include improved coordination, family fun, increased self-confidence, building of leadership skills, and improved memory, creativity and imagination.
African and Afro Latin Dance and Drumming
African dance and drumming are great ways to learn about the history and cultures of The Motherland while engaging in fun and powerful creative expression that enables us to release energy, relieve stress, and engage in community, all while experiencing the rhythms and traditions of Afro Latin Diaspora.
Family Fitness Fun
These fun family nights are offered at area branch libraries, churches and community organizations, specifically targeting families of court-involved youth but open to all. During a one-hour session, participants will enjoy mini classes in art forms such as yoga and mindfulness, Zumba®, Pound Fit®, Afrobeats, Capoeira, Latin dance, and world percussion.
Arts Programming for Custodial Grandmothers
Through partnerships with various community partners, we offer rotating classes and meals in different locations for custodial grandmothers, who are able to try their hand at some of the art forms we share with their court-involved youth.
Our goal for this project is to use the arts to reduce the rate of recidivism among affected youth, help them stay connected, or reconnect, with their families, prevent younger siblings from making unwise choices as they grow older, as well as to bring them a bit of joy while developing coping skills. We are collaborating with Nashville Davidson County Juvenile Court to continually measure and respond to the needs of the youth that we serve. We hope to expand this program to reach more children and their families to help insure a better and brighter future.
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If you would like to know more about Passport to Prevention, how you can support it or how your organization can be a part of it, please click the link below.
Support for this program comes from Tennessee Arts Commission, Metro Arts. Cross-Sector Impact funding from South Arts in partnership with National Endowment for the Arts, and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.