The Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) will send 10 low-income youth to summer arts camp where they will develop their creative skills in arts and media while exploring environmental issues and resources through visits to National Parks in the National Capital Region. Supporters are welcome to attend the final installation and performance showcasing work in printmaking, creative writing, and photography. The event will take place at the end of the summer at LAYC's Art + Media House.
Violence, drugs, and a lack of positive adult role models constitute a daily reality for many young people in Ward 1, where LAYC is located. High drop-out rates and low academic achievement further characterize LAYC's target area.
In a neighborhood where changing demographics too often result in conflict, LAYC offers young people a safe haven and serves as a rare common meeting ground with newer residents who represent young professionals that serve as volunteers and attend exhibitions. Additionally, LAYC's art programs meet participants' needs by providing a safe space with a strong sense of community that is culturally and linguistically appealing.
The long-term goals of the program are 1) youth will reflect on their experiences through art, media and digital storytelling and will gain an understanding of their environmental impact and the small changes that they or their community can make to lessen the stress on the environment; and 2) youth will better connect with the parks and communicate these experiences with their friends, family, and community as they become park stewards for years to come.