learn / 2020

Fostering Dreams

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Fostering Dreams Project

Fostering Dreams Project would like support to expand our dance education programs to continue reaching more foster and homeless youth in Antelope Valley. Our goal is to partner with elementary, middle and high schools in Palmdale and Lancaster and create a pathway for success to college, by enhancing students' skills, academic performance, community engagement, and general wellbeing.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Antelope Valley

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

Fostering Dreams Project is a dance and performing arts program to empower, educate and inspire youth foster and at-promise youth in underserved communities. Our 8-week dance education programs are designed specifically for foster youth who are currently attending schools in Antelope Valley districts. The program and curriculum include dance instruction, integrated academics (creative and expressive writing, workshops and guest speakers), social engagement (trips/tours), leadership and public performances. Students in Antelope Valley have limited access to arts education programming. Our curriculum increases students’ proficiency in dance, improved academic performance, community engagement, and enriched learning. Implementation of Fostering Dreams offers the school district and administration an opportunity to enhance its role as a leader in education, be an innovator in collaborative arts education and a change-maker for students in foster care.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

Fostering Dreams presents a framework for leveraging dance as a vehicle for addressing the unique needs of youth in foster care, clearing a new path for learning, building confidence and a host of 21st-century skills, that can help foster youth be more successful in school. In exploring the well-being of vulnerable children and youth, our dance program improves social behavior, creative expression, academic success, real-world problem-solving, civic-engagement, and lifelong learning.

Our professional dance instructors have undergone Live Scan and training to work with foster youth, are college graduates and are influential in the dance industry working with A-list artists in entertainment. They provide inspiration and support by sharing personal stories about the impact of dance to turn their lives around and achieve success. Together we create a community that leads to long-lasting connections and support.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

470
Direct impact
2,000
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Fostering Dreams has been designed to respond to the shifting social, academic, legislative and policy landscape and offers an innovative strategy for the Palmdale School Unified District to build on the success of arts education to help achieve key goals for foster youth. We have served 420 foster youth out of the 890 foster youth enrolled in PSUD. Our goal is to reach the remaining foster students while indirectly impacting their schools, teachers, and peers. We are pleased to report 100% of students in our program have improved overall behavior, attendance rates, and class participation. Providing more foster youth with a creative outlet to stay off the streets means improving the lives and well-being of the city of Palmdale.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Our vision is to be recognized nationally as a transformative dance education, performing arts program enriching the lives of our most underserved youth through creative self-expression. We aim to provide foster youth with exclusive opportunity to learn dance as a way of being more expressive, socially and academically engaged.

We want our students to see that they are bigger than their circumstances, by building confidence, creating community, and brighter futures to be successful in life. While students achieve proficiency in hip-hop, salsa, and contemporary dance styles, they will also: 1) gain knowledge of the historical impact of dance on culture and society. 2) display increased competency in soft-skills, such as self-confidence, leadership, teamwork, self-awareness, motivation, self-expression, emotional wellbeing, cultural competence, and self-discipline. 3) courage and belief in themselves to learn choreography and perform for a live audience. This courage transcends into other areas of life. A videographer is brought in to film the progress of the students during the 8-weeks and their final performance. On the last day of classes, students will watch their video and reflect on their progress and accomplishments and how far they’ve come during the program. Additional Evaluations:

  • On camera interviews: feedback from students and admin about the program.
  • Journal Evaluation: qualitative evaluation measures to assess student progress in soft skill competencies, such as self-expression through writing, self-confidence, and emotional wellbeing.
  • Start and End Surveys: The surveys will use quantitative and qualitative measures to assess student competency in the objectives and goals, before and after the program.
  • Focus Group: FDP will assess students’ satisfaction with the program and gain targeted feedback for the program’s continued development.

Which of the learn metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Arts education

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to CREATE

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support
  • Office space for meetings, events, or for staff
  • Capacity, including staff
  • Strategy assistance and implementation