The new year is here, and there’s no better way to start things off than to give back; that warm and fuzzy feeling will last you all winter. So, we’re introducing you to five dope organizations that you can get involved with and help make the world a little bit better in 2014. Grab a pen and add these to your New Year’s resolutions.
The All Stars Project- Various States
The All Stars Project does some amazing work, helping kids across the country succeed by offering after school programs and other enriching extra-curricular activities.
The ASP is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting development through the use of an innovative performance-based model. The ASP creates outside of school, educational and performing arts activities for thousands of low income and under represented children and teenagers across the country. In addition to creating it’s own programs it also sponsors community theater, develops leadership training programs and pursues volunteer initiatives that build and strengthen communities.
There are many ways to get involved with ASP, including internships, volunteer opportunities and donations. For more information on what you can do to help visit their website at http://www.allstars.org/get-involved.
Groundswell- New York, NY
If you’ve ever strolled through New York City and noticed some dope ass murals with positive and creative messages, chances are you were looking at a Groundswell original. Groundswell was founded in 1996, by a group of New York City artists, educators, and activists. Their mission was based on the belief that “there is something unique and powerful about the collaborative art making process. This process combines the sanctity of personal expression with the strength of community activism.”
Groundswell draws together artists, youth, and community organizations to use art as a tool for social change. Not only do their project set out to beautify neighborhoods but they also engage youth to care about their communities and society as a whole. Groundswell gives the underrepresented youth of NYC the ability to express their ideas and perspectives in a positive and public manner.
For more information on how to get involved visit http://www.groundswellmural.org/
The Sage Coalition- Trenton, NJ
Let me just make this statement loud and clear; Jersey’s here. If you thought that Trenton, NJ, had fallen off the map, the good folks at the SAGE Coalition have news for you. They’re on a mission to return Trenton to it’s former glory and bring new meaning to the slogan Trenton makes, the world takes. The SAGE Coalition is a Trenton based non-profit comprised of visual artists, musicians, teachers and other all around dope individuals. They are dedicated to inner city beautification projects and community cultural enrichment.
In addition to community beautification the SAGE Coalition also hosts various community service projects as well as hosting art and music events throughout the year. SAGE is a truly diverse organization with an array of tactics aimed at “reminding those in economically depressed neighborhoods that unity and pride can thrive through creative problem solving and civic engagement.”
If you’re in the area make sure to check out their Art Hammer exhibit at Gallery 219 in Trenton. The exhibit is open until January 10th. Like them on Facebook to keep up to date with all upcoming events and programs.
City Year- Nationwide
City Year was founded in 1988 by Michael Brown and Alan Khazei, then-roommates at Harvard Law School, who felt strongly that young people in service could be a powerful resource for addressing America’s most pressing issues.
City Year is focused on improving the national dropout crisis. Corps members serve as tutors, mentors and role models in elementary, middle and high schools to help students to not only graduate, but also excel in and outside the class room.
In addition to tutoring and mentoring, City Year has also created their own after school programs aimed at introducing students to extra curricular activities that they may not otherwise have access to. They also host several volunteer and community beautification projects throughout the year giving more than just corps members an opportunity to get involved. City Year is currently serving in 24 cities across the United States and in two international affiliate sites located in Johannesburg, South Africa and London, England. If you are interested in being involved with City Year as a year long corps member or in any other capacity, visit their website at http://www.cityyear.org.
Street Poets NYC- New York, NY
What has started out as a small gathering of poets in a Brooklyn apartment has grown into a movement. Their Thee Open Mic night is known for bringing in crowds of up to 40o, and they are considered to be the largest open mic in New York City. Street Poets NYC isn’t just your average open mic, they are a multifaceted organization that provides a platform for poets, musicians and visual artists to express themselves live and in color. In addition to hosting their open mic night they also host various community service events and other programs, including a teen’s only open mic that gives voice to the youth. Their motto is “Powerful is a lifestyle, we live it.”
“The purpose of The Street Poets NYC Collective is to create and make a platform readily available for artist to perform, promote, network, and Love, in power. Our intentions are to help with the ongoing movement to restore Power to the people and remain beneficial to the community by being positive, powerful, and the illest to pay respects to our Artistry.”
They are currently looking for aspiring young creatives who are looking to get involved in their movement. “Ideally someone who’s looking to gain experience, help their personal gain, as well as be apart of something that has had exceptional growth.” To apply for an internship drop a line to [email protected] For information on upcoming events including their Thee Open Mic night Be sure to check out their website at http://streetpoetsnyc.com/