Theatre Action Project’s Program New Stages: Arts Empowerment for Juvenile Offenders is a program for teens in the Travis County Juvenile Probation Department residential program.
Its goals are to help youth improve perceived social support and develop the interpersonal communication and self-efficacy skills necessary to improve family relationships and social competencies, and decrease antisocial behavior which will lead to a reduction in gang involvement and recidivism.
With the guidance of a Theatre Action Project trained teaching artist, youth will use the knowledge gained from the Girls Circle and Boys Council curricula and their own life experiences, to create an original theatrical performance for their peers, families and the community.
Programs like New Stages are happening all over the country. In Montanta, “Karin Connelly, a tutor with Literacy Volunteers of Flathead County, goes to the Flathead County Juvenile Detention Center every week with cans of paint, egg cartons and brushes to work with three to five of the young inmates.”
Christine Hensleigh, director of Literacy Volunteers says everyone can teach. If you like to read the newspaper you can teach about world events! If you like to paint you can teach others how to paint, and if you’ve been a peer leader or parent, you can teach life-skills.