The YEA! Arts Program

    YEA! Arts Program

    Supported by the John H. and Robin E. Sullivan Foundation

    The YEA! Arts  program enables the Ringling College to hire students to provide instruction and experiences in arts and crafts to youth at sites located around Sarasota County.  These are youth who have limited opportunities to experience the arts and will include sites such as youth shelters, foster care group homes, transitional housing, programs through the Juvenile Justice Department, second-chance schools and alternative schools. 

    Student instructors are responsible for designing all art activities and projects including the gathering and distribution of supplies.  Student instructors are supported by on-site staff in all locations and are not responsible for classroom management or discipline. Time commitments will vary from one or two sessions a week at about one hour per session.  Summer employment opportunities are available as well.

    Other requirements:  Students who apply will need to pass a background check by the Juvenile Justice Department.  Experience working with children is a plus but not required.  Ability to work professionally and be punctual is a must.

    Read more on the Youth Experiencing Art web site:

    For more information, please contact the Coordinator of Student Volunteerism and Service-Learning, Rachel Levey-Baker at or 941.359.7504.

    Reflections from YEA! Arts Student Instructors

    "The semester with YEA! Arts was at times exciting, frustrating, confusing, exhilarating, and the whole time a learning experience.  Starting off I had no idea what to really actually expect.  Once I started I began to understand these kids.  What works for all the girls at the youth shelter is probably not going to work for the boys at the group home.  The kids surprised me.  Some projects that I was convinced they would love they hated.  One example is when for Mardi Gras we made masks.  They did not want to do this at all, but I tried joking with them about their masks and they warmed up to it. Everyone was laughing with each other, not at each other.  
        Honestly, throughout the semester sometimes I found it really hard to find motivation to get ready for class and to go because the previous week the kids were misbehaving, but always when I got to class, I would give my 100% and the kids would do great.  Towards the end staff were telling me that the kids were asking where I was and when they were going to do art.  That made me feel great and could see that if I continued for a year I could really affect these kids for the better."

    Valuable skills learned or improved as a result of participation in the program:

    •    Patience- This was a very valuable skill to hone during this semester.  One must have patience with the kids and with the staff.  I would just take a deep breath when I would get frustrated and then look at the situation in a different way.
    •    Tolerance- Not necessarily tolerant towards race and gender, I already have a good handle on that, but tolerance for these kids’ ideas.  If one is not tolerant of their ideas, they will just butt heads and then nothing gets done.
    •    Thick Skin- This is big time.  The kids need to respect you.  I was able to have control of the class, but not seem like an authority figure.  The kids will always trust staff more than they trust outsiders, but still they felt they could draw and do things in art class that they could not do in other parts of their life. For that they respected me.  
    •    My global perspective is larger now dealing with these particular kids because you never really hear about these kids or ever have an experience with them, so now I am clued into this part of our world.

    How the experiences were meaningful to the student instructors and how they influenced their experience at the Ringling College.

    •    These experiences were very valuable to me.  They taught me so much, but also reinforced a lot of what I already knew.
    •    This opportunity was so great because I was able to jump into a teaching position without needing prior experience, now I have that experience, but it was neat figuring it all out on my own.  Figuring out organization, time planning, and lessons, and really understanding what has to go into a class that is only an hour long.
    •    It taught me that these kids just need more positive experiences to get out of where they are.  


    Youth Experiencing Art Annual Reports and Newsletters