CuidArte & Empoder Arte
Our agency, Allies in Caring is dedicated to serving Latino children develop positive social and emotion learning skills to cope with their life’s challenges. Latino children face barriers due to immigration and acculturation stressors, in addition to poverty, discrimination, etc. Faced with stress from school and daily tasks, kids can often be negatively impacted. Without having developed positive coping skills kids have a hard time dealing with stress and trauma in their lives. To help kids overcome the barriers they face, Allies in Caring developed a mindfulness program called this CuidArte, meaning: “The art of selfcare”. The summer camp is a 2-week program with 8 sessions that aims to teach your child how to deal with stress more positively and to provide a safe and fun environment for your child this summer. We have many fun games, activities and crafts prepared each day! Throughout the week, we will have fun themes for the day that your child can participate in! Camp activities include: arts and crafts, games and activities, yoga and mindfulness, reflections and discussions, and outdoor learning.
CuidArte, meaning: “The art of selfcare”, teaches Latino youth how to develop skills of emotion regulation and self-awareness. Faced with chronic and toxic stress from immigration processes and racial and ethnic discrimination and disparities as well as not having developed positive coping skills, Latino youth often are negatively impacted. Following the L2B curriculum, a variety of skills are introduced such as self-observation, awareness, decision making, mindful communication, acceptance, problem solving, anger and depression management. Allies in Caring hopes the positive change the program can make in student’s lives will favorably impact their local communities.
Each day a variety of skills are introduced such as self-observation, awareness, decision making, mindful communication, acceptance, problem solving, anger and depression management. Art is an important component of our program, it helps kids to relate to the present moment, and just be, without expectations, without judgments, in addition to that the act of creating can be very relaxing and calming for children who need to find a way to cope with traumatic experiences. Through art students can be empowered and creatively learn and identify ways they can express themselves.
The CuidArte Summer Camp runs Monday to Thursday, August 21st to August 31st from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and the camp is FREE. We do ask for a $30.00 donation for materials and supplies. Please contact Isola Webbe at (609) 380-5052 or IWebbe@alliesincaring.org for inquiries.
We recently changed the name of the project for older youth to EmpoderArte: “The art of self-empowerment”, to make it more appealing to students attempting to take control of their life and plan for the future. We have recognized that adolescents are beginning to have a greater understanding of self and plan for their future [pigets]. They are becoming more independent and are developing skills for adulthood. Erikson’s stages of development explain that younger youth have different mental and social abilities than older youth. We have adapted the programs to meet the abilities of each age group. For younger youth, we will continue with our CuidArte program of self-care as they are learning to cope with new social environment and develop self-esteem [Erikson]. For older youth, we will use our EmpoderArte program as they are re-examining their identity and what it looks like as they transition into adulthood.
How the program is offered
The EmpoderArte program runs for eight weeks. Over the course of the eight weeks we offer the course two different ways. The first is through 8 sessions meeting once a week and they are about an hour and a half to 2 hours long. Typically the 8 sessions program is presented as an afterschool program. The other way it is offered is with 16 sessions meeting twice a week for about 45 minutes to an hour long. This program is often presented during the school day running at the time of one of the class periods. We are flexible with working with the schools and teachers to find the right fit for everyone.
Why is this important?
Latino youth represent one of the most important demographic groups in New Jersey, however, from various reports many are living below poverty level, lack medical care, live with parents that work twelve-hour days, six days a week. Consequently, they grow up without sufficient parental attention to support their wellbeing, safety and success in school. Likewise, others are harmed by the negative effects of growing up in the shadows of unauthorized status as undocumented or children of undocumented parents, many live in fear or deep disorientation. Additionally, others are affected by other major stressors in their neighborhoods such as a high incidence of crime and, drug use/drug traffic.
To mitigate the impact of living with significant adversity these adolescents need to build inner resources such as emotional regulation, and stress management that will help them strengthen their resilience and capacity to effectively navigate their way around adversity. They need to learn effective methods of protecting themselves against the overwhelming influence of the risk factors that are part of their lives. If these teens are not given an opportunity to develop emotional regulation skills and other stress coping skills, they are, as reports show, more likely to be truant, drop out of school and become adjudicated in the legal system.
What are the benefits of our program?
Our program helps improve the youth’s ability to manage their emotions and respond more positively to stressors. Our training supports the efforts of the NJ Division of Education and its partner state agencies, to advance the overarching goals of preventing, reducing, and effectively managing incidents of violence; vandalism; harassment, bullying (HIB); substance abuse; and other at-risk student behaviors. The NJDOE has made a commitment to support initiatives such as student acquisition of the social skills. This will have a favorable impact for the communities where they live such as: reductions in crime and gang involvement as well as improvement in the probability of high school graduation and integration to the workforce.
Recent studies have shown teaching students mindfulness has increased student’s ability to focus and concentrate as well as their resiliency. Two schools, the Robert W. Coleman Elementary School and the Patterson Park High School, have substituted detentions with mindfulness and have found that their suspensions significantly decreased and school attendance increased.
Other research has supported that mindfulness improves students physically, with their sleep patterns and respiratory; mentally, with stress management, anxiety and negative thought patterns as well as higher cognitive efficiency; emotionally, with higher self-esteem and better emotion regulation; and relationally, with increased social skills and behavior regulation as well as lessened aggression.
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