A Reason To Survive

Mission Statement: A Reason To Survive (ARTS) is dedicated to providing, supporting, and advocating for arts programs that Heal, Inspire, and Empower youth facing adversity.

James & Ceramics June 2014

Advancing Health and Wellness: ARTS is a vital contributor to San Diego’s health and human services arena. ARTS was founded in 2001 as a therapeutic arts program for children with terminal and chronic illness. Today, programs emphasize support of mental health, as nearly 80% of the youth ARTS serves are dealing with mental health issues. Led by a Social Work team, ARTS collaborates with 100+ community agencies, including navigation to mental and physical health services, transitional housing, pro-bono legal support, higher education and more. The ARTS Social Work team assesses each child’s needs at intake and recommends placement into an ARTS program area: Heal (therapeutic arts), Inspire (arts education) or Empower (life skills, creative career and college preparation). The Social Work team is led by a LCSW, who is supported by an MFT intern and a Heal program coordinator. Children work with the team at the ARTS Center, with families involved in crisis intervention and quarterly meetings to assess benchmarks.


Description: ARTS collaborates with more than 100 organizations, including hospitals, domestic violence and abuse shelters, juvenile justice system, alternative education and more to reach at-risk youth, engage them in programs, and support collaborator goals to improve health and well-being. Through the arts, and in partnership with the active social work team, youth identify and nourish their inner strength and creativity, which often lies hidden under fear, trauma and pain, enabling them to become agents in partnership with collaborators in a positive life trajectory–from crises to careers.

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