Power of Culture Blog
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“Art has the potential to change the world. Art has the power to transform, to illuminate, to educate, to inspire, and that is what Artists for Humanity allowed me to do.” – Teen participant in Artist for Humanity’s Creative Youth Development program
Mass Cultural Council’s YouthReach is the longest continually running support program for Creative Youth Development (CYD) work in the United States. Started in 1994, this program has invested more than $15 million into more than 100 organizations in its 27-year history.
In FY22, YouthReach is proudly providing $1,584,000 to 72 Creative Youth Development programs that focus on infusing youth development with creative experiences in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences.
During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, CYD organizations throughout Massachusetts pivoted their operations rapidly to maintain and deepen connections with young people. Meeting youth’s basic physical and mental health needs had to accompany and/or precede art-making. The human services side of these organizations became a visible and essential part of community life as they stepped up to provide support for youth and families struggling with food and housing insecurity, mental and physical health needs, and other challenges brought on by the pandemic.
Mass Cultural Council has published a report, Carrying Community through COVID, describing the intense challenges that CYD organizations faced between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. In addition to reflecting on the changes the COVID-19 pandemic brought to CYD organizations, the report also details how these organizations expanded their missions with creativity, resourcefulness, and flexibility. The data in the report was provided by the 72 CYD programs funded through YouthReach and represents a range of disciplines, rural and urban environments, and youth participants of various ages.