Little Haiti Based Non-Profit Responds to Meekâ€™s Call for Leadership
Art Studio Miami Increasing Capacity to Serve Youth Impacted by Haiti Earthquake
January 22, 2010, Miami, FL- Little Haiti based Art Studio Miami (ASM) is ramping up volunteer efforts in response to the anticipated influx of refugee children pouring into Miami from earthquake ravaged Haiti. ASM annually serves approximately 200 youth from the impoverished area of Little Haiti, and staff expect demand to increase dramatically in the coming months as children orphaned by the earthquake arrive in South Florida.
Kendrick Meek (D-FL) addressed news crews on Tuesday at the City of Miamiâ€™s staging area for Haiti relief, located directly across the street from ASM. Meek called for local organizations to provide leadership and support during the long period of rebuilding.
â€œSouth Florida is in this for the long haul; this will be the center for the recovery. . . and we are going to need leadership and understanding,” said Meek.
In response to Meekâ€™s appeal, ASM volunteers and staff have begun working around the clock to prepare for additional students in the coming months. An army volunteer teaching artists and administrators have stepped up to provide holistic programming that will allow children impacted by the disaster to express their feelings through creative projects that prepare them for academic success.
â€œWe must provide safe spaces where youth can heal and build solid foundations for better lives,â€ said Art Studio Miami Founder and lead volunteer, Rachel Hughes.
Since 2007, ASM has served over 500 youth from Little Haiti and Overtown using creative, art based projects to nurture studentsâ€™ creative thinking abilities and prepare them for classroom settings and job situations. The organization partners with professional artists and community leaders to provide students with mentors and concrete tools to remain in school, and gain stable employment after graduation. Programs incorporate yoga, meditation, and deep breathing to help studentâ€™s develop positive ways to address the distressing living situations they face daily.
â€œIn the wake of this disaster, people are forgetting that many Haitian people who have already immigrated to Miami are in desperately impoverished conditions, living below the poverty level, which in several cases means homelessness, no running water, and little to no food or water,â€ said Hughes.
According to Hughes, many of the youth served at ASM are struggling to obtain an education due to language barriers and health issues from lack of water, food and clean living conditions.
Hughes is calling on the Miami business and philanthropic communities to provide financial support and supplies for youth being served at Art Studio Miami. Donations of non perishable food, bottled water, and funding are being accepted to offset the costs of increasing programming. Donations can be made starting Monday at www.ASMHelpLittleHaiti.org or by calling the ASM office at 786-317-8118.
ASM volunteers are also on the ground in Haiti. A team of ASM volunteers left for Port-au-Prince early Tuesday morning to assisting directly with the relief efforts on the ground. Nearly all of the students served at ASM have family still in Haiti.
Art Studio Miami uses art as a tool for educational, emotional, and career development. Through the arts, we teach life skills to prepare students for successful futures. Youth in foster care, homeless situations, and extreme poverty depend on us to provide tools that empower them to gain stable employment and contribute to our community.
Art Studio Miami programs go far beyond art – they are lifelines out of poverty. According to the Florida 11th Judicial Circuit Courtâ€™s Juvenile Justice Board, one in three youth in the area served by ASM will be imprisoned by age twenty-one. Our programs focus on dismantling the â€˜Cradle to Prison Pipelineâ€™ by providing students with mentors and tools to create a future free from the crippling effects of poverty.
Art Studio Miami
7230 NW Miami Ct
Studio #5 Purple Door
Miami, Fl 33150
â€œEvery Child is an Artist. The Challenge is How to Remain an Artist Once We Grow Up.â€ â€“Picasso