Teaching students creativity and confidence: Raw Art Works
Today, in honor of Youth Art Month, we are featuring one of our amazing longtime partner organizations, Raw Art Works (RAW), based in Lynn, Massachusetts. RAW brings the power of art to the struggling local student population. 83% of public school students in Lynn come from low-income backgrounds and many of them face the challenges of attending school systems with very limited access to essential mental health resources like counselors. RAW addresses this crisis by welcoming students of every age into their studios and giving them the opportunity to create art as well as talk to therapists, receive job and college preparation, and connect with peers. RAW was founded on the belief that creative pursuits can positively impact student achievement, motivation, critical thinking and collaborative skills.
RAW’s programs help students to develop intellectual and creative curiosity. A recent graduate of their programs and a first-generation college student wrote, “my main reason for wanting to go to college is simple: I want to learn; I want to learn about different cultures and people. I want to sit with people and discuss their beliefs and be able to have conversations with others that will stimulate me and make me think. I want to be exposed to things and ideas that I could never imagine existed.” Her time spent learning and creating at RAW gave her the confidence and passion for knowledge necessary to pursue higher education. She is only one of the many success stories emerging from RAW’s studios.
In a desire to continue this amazing work, the MAXIMUS Foundation has partnered with RAW to expand its Project Launch and Art of Words programs for high school students. Project Launch provides college and career workshops for students, as well as valuable networking opportunities with alumni and college visiting trips. Art of Words is an arts-based literacy program that helps students to increase writing skills by combining communication and creativity. Through our partnership, RAW and the MAXIMUS Foundation have brought the joy and knowledge of creativity to low income Massachusetts students.