Arts education provides a fertile ground for creative expression. This includes an increased sense of belonging and connection to community. DAVA looks at self esteem, increased engagement in school, and attitudes favorable to healthy lifestyles. On the prevention side, kids involved in DAVA sustain negative attitudes towards drug use and an overall resistance to risky behaviors.
Additionally, evaluation results demonstrate the successful outcomes of our programs. Last year, Colorado Council on the Arts evaluation surveys showed 97% of youth in programs learned new artistic skills, 86% learned “I can do things I didn’t think I could do before,” and 71% work better with others on a team.
In the last five years, DAVA has won national awards (NASADAD National Exemplary Award for Innovative Substance Abuse Prevention Programs, Practices, and Policies in 2007 and two Certificates of Excellence from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities Coming Up Taller Awards in 2008 and 2010), two state awards from the El Pomar Foundation, and several years of recognition from the Aurora Public Schools for excellence in youth programs.
An outside study (2009-2010) of DAVA’s Job Training Programs showed middle school students Grade Point Average (GPA) rose significantly. DAVA now has solid evidence that its after-school programs produce significant outcomes—definitely something to cheer about!