Art is a way for kids to see themselves in the world. In DAVA’s community-based programs, students explore subjects that are meaningful to their lives. They use the creative process to investigate everything from cultural identity to climate change through painting, video, and graphic design. Additional emphasis on teamwork, personal responsibility, and leadership help youth gain assets that directly transfer to increased success in school and life.
DAVA students thrive with a high level of individualized attention in a specialized learning environment. Our program approach is based on the following best practices: a low teacher-to-student ratio, project-based instruction that applies to real world situations, and student participation in decision-making. Co-learning with staff mentors promotes a sense of ownership and mutual respect. Kids share their stories and ideas, feel a sense of belonging, and develop communication skills that affirm their voice.
Art + Community is a powerful medium to create change. DAVA builds the skills necessary for youth to become creative and engaged members of our community. As they make their place in the world, their creative power and agency will have a lasting impact.
- Katherine, age 14
“At DAVA, I learn how to be a leader – it’s a skill not many places implement, not even school. I am getting a set of skills that will help me in the real world where being a leader is a crucial part of being successful.”
DAVA’s evaluation methods center on participant experience and growth. We use the National Research Center’s Youth Outcomes Toolkit to measure program outcomes. Our results demonstrate the positive impact that direct, year-round, sustained involvement has on DAVA youth.
- 0 % Learn in new ways at DAVA
- 0 % Feel prepared to work at a job
- 0 % Work better with others on a team
- 0 % Have more respect for people of other cultures and races
Boris, age 18, DAVA Graduate
Boris’ involvement with DAVA programs began in 5th grade. Boris was part of our Open Studio and learned the “basics”- drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture. Read More
Hannah, age 16, Junior Staff
Hannah B. (age 16) started at DAVA in 2015, and is the oldest child in a refugee family from Eretria. She joined DAVA’s Computer Art Lab because she was fascinated with learning new technology. She quickly mastered programs at DAVA and became an outgoing team leader and peer mentor in our Job Training program. Read More