smARTkids Art Program harnesses the positive energy of art, bringing inspiration and encouragement to 150+ at-risk elementary school students in Montgomery County, Md. Small, weekly after-school art classes transform students' lives, increasing self-esteem, academic performance and social skills. With a majority of students from low-income families, smARTkids is often the only after school enrichment program available to them, and is therefore offered at no cost to schools or families.
Montgomery County Public Schools have significant populations of low-income and at-risk students. These students often face disadvantages in educational opportunities and show poor academic performance due to lack of literacy, access to technology and homework help. Many do not have the opportunity to participate in enrichment activities and spend many hours unsupervised after school. Regrettably, these same children often fall under the influence of poor role models and even crime and violence.
smARTkids brings a high quality after school art program to students in need of additional academic support, at no cost. CREATE's art teachers facilitate a group learning experience by introducing new art techniques and topics for discussion and encouraging joint problem solving. Through the creation of art, students improve their concentration and critical thinking skills. As they present their work, they develop and practice public speaking, listening and respectful communications skills.
Providing more than 150 of Montgomery County's at-risk students a chance to succeed in a less-stressful environment with more individual attention decreases their likelihood to drop out of school. They are better prepared to enter the workforce, or move on to higher education, and less likely to become involved with crime and violence.