OJJDP Praises Atlanta’s Art-at-Work as a Program that Works for At-Risk Kids

Looking for a way to help at-risk youth in your community? Start an arts program.

Arts programs for at-risk youth in Atlanta and two other cities show measurable success in helping kids stay out of trouble and develop a more positive attitude about their future, according to research sponsored by the OJJDP and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Art-at-Work in Atlanta started 14 years ago as a collaborative effort between the Fulton County Arts Council and Juvenile Court. The program was designed to provide art instruction, job training and literacy education to a small group of first-time status offenders, primarily truants, from 14 to 16-years old.

The program took in 15 kids recommended by their probation officers. The kids produced art and got public recognition for their work. Results show they developed more positive attitudes about school and drug use and they got in less trouble after completing the program. The OJJDP highlights feedback from some of the kids:

“I learned how to work with other people. The people skills I learned in the program have helped me. I am working and want to go to business school.”

“If I wasn’t in the program I probably would have gotten pregnant again and dropped out of school. Now I’m still in school and doing good.”

Similar programs in Portland, OR and San Antonio, TX proved to be just as successful.

For the OJJDP’s summary, click here.

For the detailed report, click here.