Survey Says Local Youth Want Increased Opportunities in the Arts05.28.2005
In a recent survey of young people in Bristol, increased availability of arts, drama and music programs topped the list.
Also making the Top 10 list was the need to develop some kind of funding or scholarships for children and youth to participate in after-school programs such as fine arts and sports, citing "the desire to participate is not matched with the resources to attend."
The survey was conducted by a local Communities That Care (CTC) team, whose members include Elizabeth Graham, chair of the Youth Involvement Work Group.
The process began when the City of Bristol Tennessee received a grant for the CTC process. According to Graham, the City of Bristol Virginia was trained in this process nine years ago and has continued to utilize that structure.
She explained, "The Youth Involvement Work Group was formed for direct input from our young people. About 30 students in grades 3-12 and their parents have given their assessment of needs for Bristol children and youth. They prioritized their list to a Top Ten, with the Number One priority making more arts and drama available to more children and youth."
"We are excited about having a comprehensive plan for our children and youth," Graham told board members for Arts Alliance Mountain Empire, a new arts council that publishes A! Magazine for the Arts.
Graham said, "We're looking forward to possible partnerships with the Arts Alliance and other arts organizations in our area. We hope to have facilitated meetings between leaders and program providers from the arts community and our Youth Involvement Work Group. The youth could hear about existing programs and, together, the group could identify possible ways for growing programs, make programs accessible to more youth, and discuss ideas for filling gaps in current programming."
One idea that the CTC team is pursuing is an after-school arts program that would travel between Bristol Tennessee city schools and involve local youth organizations.
A History of CTC in Bristol, Tennessee
— - Local coalitions attempting to secure funding for youth initiatives learn of the Communities That Care process that is highly recommended for accessing youth-related prevention funding.
— - Several coalitions came together to make application for a grant to fund the CTC process, including Weed and Seed, Bristol's Promise, and Bristol Drug Free Communities/Prevention Policy Board.
— - Bristol, Tennessee is one of 10 cities chosen for the Purdue Pharma award in the Spring of 2004
— - A Community Kick-Off is held in September 2004, seeking commitment of both those who are willing to serve on the 40-member CTC Team as well as key leaders who are willing to support the team as they implement the process
— - In October 2004, the CTC Team attends orientation with a national trainer. The team is divided into six work groups and begin working on various tasks to complete the strategic planning process.
The CTC system provides strategic consultation, training, and tools, helping communities join forces to promote positive youth development and prevent adolescent problem behaviors. Highly recommended by the U.S. Departments of Education, Justice, and Health & Human Services, the reports and action plan developed through this system have been proven to be effective in securing additional state and federal grants for community projects regarding youth.
For more information, call Elizabeth Graham at 423-652-6310.