AS220 Youth is a creative incubator for at-risk and beyond-risk young people, ages 14-21, and began in 1998 making it the longest-running partnership between a community arts based organization and a juvenile detention facility in the United States. Over last 18 years, AS220 Youthhas provided long-term, ongoing mentoring, and hands-on educational activities to prepare participants to seek post secondary education, vocational training, or employment, while inspiring them to discover their interests and take on leadership roles. AS220 Youth engages participants in artistic practice increasing their skills, knowledge, understanding and appreciation of artistic expression and its power to connect us with each other and with our world.
Our programs serve approximately 500 youth annually through partnerships with the Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program (UCAP): an alternative school for those at-highest-risk for dropout; the Rhode Island Training School (RITS): the state juvenile detention center; and ourYouth Studio in downtown Providence. Our program structure is built upon the notion that a troubled past is not a prescription for inevitable failure, rather it can be an amplifier for success when coupled with long term, compassionate mentoring, and real world skills-building during transition from incarceration through release.
AS220 Youth provides consistent, long-term mentorship for incarcerated young people. Not only does our programming ease transition for beyond-risk youth, but our work seeks to dismantle the pipeline to prison by providing a real world experience that immerses members in educational workshops and activities that inspires youth to take leadership roles in their communities.
Most importantly, AS220 Youth membership is open, non-competitive and free, allowing us to serveyouth who have an interest in arts, music, social justice, and the intersection of all three, but have had few or no opportunities to explore their passions. Yet, like many nonprofits who provide free programming, our resources are limited and we must force interested young people to sign a waiting list.
AS220 Youth is dedicated to dismantling the pipeline to prison by empowering beyond-risk and incarcerated youth through arts, culture and professional opportunities. Our mission is to raise a justice league of young leaders who use their experience, influence and creativity to build an alternative future for themselves and their communities.