Theatre Of Hearts is a success in every way and has earned the respect of community leaders, educators, parents and members of the California Arts Council. The organization has also been recognized nationally through numerous awards and through the funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Wayne D. Cook, Manager, Arts in Education
California Arts Council
Founded in 1987 by Executive Director Sheila Scott-Wilkinson, Theatre Of Hearts, Inc. is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation whose vision is to promote understanding between people through cultural and artistic forums, and to empower local communities through education in the arts.
The mission of Theatre Of Hearts/Youth First (TOHYF) is to prevent and intervene in youth violence by involving low-income, at-risk and high-risk youth, ages 4-18, in on-going, high quality, standards-based multidisciplinary arts educational programs.
Theatre Of Hearts/Youth First innovative art education programs were first introduced to Los Angeles in 1992 with seed funding from The California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other funders.
Since its inception in 1992, the Youth First Artist-In-Residence Program has linked over 300 professional artists from the Los Angeles area with over 93,000 under-served youth. It is the intention of Youth First to ensure that our residencies are long-term, providing youth with the continuity and on going mentoring so critical for making a lasting impact in their lives. We also provide Teacher Training & Development in integrating the arts into current school curricula to enhance student absorption and retention of academic subjects.
Every Youth First Program is a model of inclusion, crossing lines of race and cultural differences. TOHYF serves youth who are approximately 48% Latin American, 45% African American, 3% Asian American and 4% other ethnicities; 65% are boys and 35% are girls.
Workshop curricula conforms to the California State requirements of Language Arts, and the Visual and Performing Arts. Review VAPA criteria HERE.
Participating youth and their parents are not charged for class tuition or workshop supplies: all programs are underwritten by government, school, foundation, corporate or other sponsor funding and delivered free of charge to participants. See some of our clients, funders and supporters HERE.
The Theatre Of Hearts/Youth First Artist-In-Residence Program is recognized for its quality and effectiveness by:
The National Endowment for the Arts
The California Arts Council
Los Angeles County Office of Education
Los Angeles County Arts Commission
City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
Los Angeles Unified School District
Inglewood Unified School District
Theatre Of Hearts/Youth First has received many acknowledgments and awards for arts educational excellence:
2011: TOHYF continues as an ongoing member of Mayor Villaraigosa’s Gang Reduction Youth Development (GRYD) program coalition, working in association with the Asian American Drug Abuse Program, Inc. (AADAP) in the 77th (II) GRYD region as the program’s only arts education partner, providing Central Los Angeles youth with creative, productive alternatives to gang life.
2008: TOHYF is identified in The California Endowment study “The Power of Art” as an organization using effective intervention strategy for at-risk youth.
2008: Los Angeles County Arts Commission-Arts Education Directory and the Los Angeles Unified School District-Arts Community Partnership Network recognize TOHYF as an organization providing arts education that meets the California State Standards for the Visual and Performing Arts.
1997: The Rand Corporation’s The Arts and Public Safety Impact Study recognizes TOHYF as an exemplary arts education organization engaged in “best practices.” The study’s findings note that our program possesses:
Highly committed, task-oriented personnel who work as “change agents” for at-risk youth.
A commitment to developing youth as “whole people” and a belief in the power of the arts to affect overall, positive change in youth who have had trouble succeeding in other activities.
Sensitivity to community needs and opportunities for art interventions to fulfill those needs.
Sophistication in program practices, including documentation of lesson plans and training to prepare artist-teachers to handle challenging situations with difficult youths.
Openness to sharing program knowledge and lessons learned with other youth-serving organizations.
An appreciation for program evaluation and the need to demonstrate benefits to youth in a scientifically rigorous manner.
1995: The U.S. Department of Justice features the TOHYF Artist-In-Residence Program and Executive Director Sheila Scott-Wilkinson in their publication Part of the Solution: Creative Alternatives for Youth as examples of leadership in developing and implementing successful and effective arts education programming.
1995: The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies designates TOHYF as a model program.