The Foster Care Program
In 2009, The Possibility Project initiated a new program to bring its impact to youth living in foster care. The program – now beginning its third year – engages youth from foster care agencies across New York City each year.
Recruitment for the Foster Care Program happens each year in February and March. Get details on auditions for this an other programs or contact Kenny Phillips, Artistic Director.
Why a Program for Youth in Care?
The teenage years can be difficult, especially for youth in foster care. Living with a high risk of abuse or neglect, facing a transitory living situation, and dealing with the stigmas of being in foster care produces a highly volatile combination of risks and vulnerabilities. The net effect can be devastating, exemplified by the fact that two to four years after aging out of foster care, only 50 percent of youth have completed high school or a GED and only 6% graduate from even a community college.
Since 2001, The Possibility Project has produced programs open to all teenagers living in New York City. The impact on the youth we’ve served has been tremendous. Continuing our growth, we have sought to increase our impact by providing our innovative program to teenagers who would benefit most. Looking at the conditions facing teenagers in foster care, it became clear that The Possibility Project could make a real difference in their lives and their communities.
Unique Program Attributes
The Foster Care Program model is rooted in the proven curriculum developed by The Possibility Project over the past 15 years. However, because of the unique circumstances facing youth in care, additional program elements have been incorporated in order to fully address the needs of this population.
In addition to performing arts training and workshops in diversity, leadership, violence prevention, and conflict resolution, participants in this program receive special training in how to observe and understand the internal emotional process of how a person responds to change. As most youth in care experience major life changes on a regular basis, this model – “the transitions framework” developed by William Bridges – provides a useful lens through which youth can perceive those changes and come to terms with them, moving forward in a positive and healthy direction.
Markers of Success
Participants in the Foster Care program have reported progress in the following areas as a result of their experience in The Possibility Project:
- confidence in their ability to handle conflicts
- improved relationships with family
- more motivation to engage in their education (100% of 2010-11 participants stayed in high school, re-enrolled in school or GED programs, or made significant progress toward completing a GED)
- decreased participation in destructive activities
- positive and intentional sense of future
Youth who participate for two years have shown further increased gains in all of these areas.
Members of the Foster Care Program are recruited from agencies located in all five boroughs of New York City and Westchester County. To be eligible, youth must be between the ages of 15 and 20, and either be currently in, or have been in foster care. No previous performance experience is necessary, whatsoever. No one is chosen on the basis of talent! Selection is based on youth’s desire to create a better world.
The Foster Care Program is possible because of generous support from: