Tag Archives: ReLIFE Reengagement Program

Re:LIFE’s ArtLIFE Program: Empowering Youth through Art Education

Du bleu dans vos coeurs....

Image by ImAges ImprObables via Flickr (Un Peu d'amour! means 'a little love')

“Re:LIFE’s programs are all aimed at reinventing today’s youth. Re:LIFE’s programs are determined to educate, equip, encourage, cultivate and motivate youth to become entrepreneurs in diverse fields that will spur economic growth, reduce unemployment, and increase fiscal responsibility in our communities.
The Reengagement Program is Re:LIFE’s Premier endeavor. It is designed to have an entrepreneurial focus, which will come alongside educational, career and leadership preparations in the five different areas of concentration. The Reengagement program spans an intensive 12- 24 month timeline. This time frame is broken down into a Mandatory Intensive 12-month training session, and Voluntary Extensive job placement/ fiscal responsibility session.” – http://www.relifeinc.org/reengagement.html

The Re:LIFE Reengagement Program for disconnected male youth incorporates five concentration areas with each student being assigned to his preferred area of concentration—ArtLIFE, FitLIFE, ServeLIFE, TechLIFE and BizLIFE. Although Re:LIFE Inc is an entrepreneurship-centered program, it acknowledges the necessities of training in other areas, especially as desired by the participant. Those in the Arts, for example, plan and execute a showcase of talents of which potential talent scouts will select candidates they hope to sponsor. Hence, the showcase serves as an audition for the candidates.
Some people do not readily see art as a focus from which one can pursue a career or learn valuable life skills. Unfortunately, some schools which are facing budgets cuts accommodate these changes by decreasing the number of art programs. Yet, the benefits of training and education in the arts can be found in all aspects of life and as such, art education should be preserved.

The arts are an important part of every youth’s education. Similar to English, Math, Science and other core subjects, the Arts also contains challenging subject areas that contain rigorous content and standards of achievement. Making art or simply experiencing it will help youth grow intellectually, socially, and emotionally. It can also be extremely beneficial for economically disadvantaged youth and those who are at risk of not succeeding in school. As stated by Eric Cooper, president of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, “Arts education enables those children from a financially challenged background to have a more level playing field with children who have had those enrichment experiences”. Research studies depict a strong correlation between learning in the arts and acquiring the fundamental cognitive skills and capacities used to master other core subjects.
Obviously art education develops creativity within youth. Let’s examine how it builds other aspects of the personality:

Critical Thinking and Communication Skills: Youth who study art are made to interpret and draw conclusions from the material. This fosters critical thinking by encouraging them to think outside the box and expand their mind. They learn to question things by participating in the arts. They also learn to problem solve and convey their thoughts and ideas effectively. Studies have actually shown that exposing youth to art promotes brain activity.

Emotional Development: The practice of art builds self-esteem, discipline, and maturity. For example, “After drawing a sketch, if a child does not like the final outcome, he erases and re-draws certain portions. Thus, he learns “trial and error” through art and uses the same in real life situations.” It also improves observational skills because one learns to take notice of small details and this will allow youth to appreciate even the smallest things in life. Lastly, they are exposed to different ides of beauty and perceptions of the world and thus, they develop a mind more open to the experiences and people they might come across in the future.

Interpersonal Skills: Art allows youth to develop a better understanding of human nature. They learn to see the world from other people’s points of view and as a consequence they are more willing to respect the thoughts and feelings of others.

Not only are the points mentioned above important skills necessary for youth development, they are also attributes any employer would want in an employee. And if one is particularly gifted in a field of art, this can open the door to a lucrative profession in the arts, thus increasing youth innovation and employment.

The subdivisions of Re:LIFE’s ArtLIFE include music, theater, dance, creative writing, painting/mosaic, and interior/exterior design. Youth that choose to participate in this area of concentration undergo basic, intermediate, and advanced training in their particular field and are then allowed to showcase their developed skills and talents. Art is an indispensable subject that would benefit anybody, regardless of artistic inclination.

Sources:
http://www2.ed.gov/teachers/how/tools/initiative/updates/040826.html
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/importance-of-art-education.html
 
by Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology
Edited by Chike Ukaegbu

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Filed under Education, Entrepreneurship, Global Youth, Minority Issues, Re:LIFE Inc, ReLIFE, Youth, Youth Development, Youth Empowerment

Entrepreneurship and Disconnected Youth

Re:LIFE Inc.’s mission is to refine and then infuse disconnected minority youth back into society as responsible citizens. This is made possible through training programs in a diverse set of areas with special attention given to entrepreneurship. According to Gallup and National Center for Research in Economic Education polls, ‘many students, particularly minority students, have a strong interest in entrepreneurship but lack the skills to pursue work in this field’. In light of this, Re:LIFE aims to provide entrepreneurial skills to youth of different ages, especially those who are out of work and not attending school. Entrepreneurship is a rewarding career path for a number of reasons.

Entrepreneurial education can positively impact a learner at all levels and in a wide number of contexts.

Youth from all ages can benefit from entrepreneurial education. For elementary school students, training in this field allows them to acquire basic understanding of economic and financial concepts. It also enhances their problem solving and critical thinking skills while providing them with an opportunity to explore a new career path. Some of these children become motivated to start a business of their own someday. Similarly, middle school and high school students experience improved economic, financial, and workplace literacy. They also become more empowered consumers who embrace diversity and networking with others. Most importantly, in every level, entrepreneurial education improves academic skills, behavioral performance, and motivates youths to further their education. If entrepreneurial education can produce all of these effects on youth who are already in school, imagine how much it could greatly change the lives of disconnected youth.
Disconnected youth will be equipped with skills to aid them in business start-up and management. They will learn how entrepreneurship can be an effective means of making a living and many will be motivated to start their own businesses as well. Personally, entrepreneurial education can provide a stronger sense of self-worth, the ability to control one’s life, enhanced responsibility, and the acquisition of interpersonal and problem solving skills.

Entrepreneurship is very flexible and provides an opportunity for youth to use their creativity.

A wonderful thing about starting your own business is that you get to be your own boss. Creativity and flexibility is highly available in this field. When all of the necessary aspects of the business are taken care of and everything is functional, entrepreneurs can change their work schedule to accommodate other things. There is time for other pursuits, hobbies, sports, and family. In addition, entrepreneurship is an effective mode of achieving financial independence. How much money you make in this field is utterly dependent on you. Entrepreneurs can establish unique goals and from this, they can determine how much is necessary to compensate their efforts and fuel  their businesses. The level of responsibility this field requires is surpassed only by the amount of flexibility available.

Entrepreneurship allows one to provide opportunities for others.

There is no better feeling than the one you get from helping others better their lives. Entrepreneurs contribute to their societies with the service(s) they provide. In fact, small business owners are usually respected people in the community because they are responsible for spurring community development and creating local jobs. Jobs provided by small business entrepreneurs can even be more fulfilling than jobs within a large company because there is more individual attention and thus, recognition for one’s efforts. Entrepreneurs are not only providing for themselves, but also for the community. This is especially true if the service they offer is designed specifically to benefit a group or groups within the neighborhood. No economy in the world can survive without the resourcefulness and labor provided by entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship can open several doors for the entrepreneur.

Small businesses have the ability to grow into bigger companies. They can begin by offering services in one neighborhood and soon find themselves expanding beyond their immediate community. Business can also grow in terms of the services they provide. They can diversify their services and reach a larger audience within the same community. Besides expansion, entrepreneurship also provides opportunities to meet other businessmen and influential people. Networking itself provides many opportunities for career development. Entrepreneurs might find themselves engaging in new projects and learning more about what they are capable of achieving. The possibilities for both career and personal growth are abundant in this field.

All it takes to be a successful entrepreneur is consistent motivation and diligence. Entrepreneurship is necessary for disconnected youth because of all the benefits it provides and because it is a field any dedicated and passionate individual can enter. With time, one can learn and cultivate the skills necessary to succeed in one’s business of choice.

Thus, Re:LIFE Inc. has different programs that aims to equip our youth with the concepts and skills necessary to facilitate successful entrepreneurship. Some of our programs include:

YoungLIFE Entrepreneurs Program

EarnLIFE Entrepreneurs Program

Re:LIFE Reengagement Program

Sources:
http://www.entre-ed.org/Standards_Toolkit/benefits.htm;
http://www.isnare.com/?aid=504866&ca=Business
 
 
authored by:
Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology

Edited by Chike Ukaegbu

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Filed under Entrepreneurship, ReLIFE, Youth, Youth Development