Utilizing The Arts as a Therapeutic Tool

December 15, 2015

In less than two years, and more than 25 teaching artists and 18,000+ instructional hours later we have been given the opportunity to provide critically needed services to hundreds of underserved youth, foster youth, homeless and severely at-risk youth throughout Dade and Broward Counties. During that same time, The Motivational Edge also provided therapeutic art services to youth diagnosed with substance abuse and/or mental health disorders and youth currently residing in juvenile detention centers. More than 12,000+ individualized student reports have been generated throughout the course of the past two years. These reports are a direct result of our teaching artists working 7 days a week to ensure that our youth are provided with the highest quality programs in art, music/lyrical expression, dance and/or academic tutoring. These programs worked as triggers towards counteractive measures to assist these youth with their healing and recovery processes and reduced recidivism rates. Quantitative data was collected at the end of each session assessing measurable outcomes, goals/objectives met and life skill competencies addressed.

Recently, we stepped into the forefront of data management by implementing a digital format to capture not only the quantitative data but qualitative data which allows for the information to create individualized reports for each youth at the point of service. Now, utilizing a mobile app, our teaching artists are able to review information readily and analyze info in real-time. Data captured includes attendance, behavior, performance, session objectives and life skill competencies met. This innovative system can immediately issue ‘red flags’ which allows administration and appropriate personnel to know that there is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately with this youth. If a student is excessively absent, showing behavioral issues or behaviors that may be detrimental to their health or others around them, we can act rapidly to address these concerns and offer immediate support/guidance to the youth.

Our programs not only address social needs at the helm, but also help revitalize our economy. From an employment perspective, we are able to reinvest in our community by hiring local talented artists to serve as instructors and pass their craft to future generations.