ASTEP was conceived by Broadway Musical Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Juilliard students. It’s goal was to transform the lives of youth using the most powerful tool they had: their art. Today, ASTEP connects performing and visual artists with youth from underserved communities in the U.S. and around the world to awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking, and help them break the cycle of poverty.
ASTEP is deeply committed to empowering individuals who suffer from an absence of choice, especially children. The right to choose is a fundamental human right, and we strive to end the poverty that robs us of that humanity. The performing and visual arts create a unique safe space to rediscover choice.
To talk about that mission as well as the recruiting and training of volunteer teaching artists is ASTEP’s Manager of Programs, Samantha Manfredi. She shares how these programs currently serve youth affected by immigration status, homelessness, gun-violence, incarceration, the justice system, HIV/AIDS, systemic poverty, and the caste system. Yet despite all these challenges ASTEP finds a way to reach these young people and change their lives.
The Teaching Artists are highly successful Broadway performers, professional artists, or students and faculty from schools such as Juilliard, offering a variety of disciplines such as dance, visual art, music, and drama. They become transformative role models by combining their passion for the arts and their ability to use artistic tools to teach important life skills to young people around the world.
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