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Tag Archives: Courageous Allies

Meet Corinna Archer

by Corinna Archer, Programs Associate AmeriCorps VISTA

Hi, my name is Corinna Archer and I am so excited to be joining the Creative Action family as the new Programs Associate VISTA! While I wasn’t sure what to expect on my first day (besides asking a million questions), everyone has been so welcoming and helped me feel right at home in my new role in the office for the next year. When I started as a volunteer at Creative Action in 2011, I was so excited to find a meaningful way to serve my hometown community through my skills making costumes and working with youth that I developed during college as a dramaturgy major at Carnegie Mellon University. One year of AmeriCorps service with Communities In Schools of Central Texas and many volunteer hours with Creative Action later, I have deepened my relationship with Creative Action as a VISTA where I can share my passion for the arts and serve the community by helping give youth access to empowering creative learning opportunities.

I just returned from a fantastic pre-service orientation in Dallas where I met so many inspiring VISTAs, and learned about the history and mission of Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) and how VISTAs fight poverty by supporting and strengthening non-profit organizations around the country. While learning about the variety of ways VISTAs help to combat poverty by developing community resources, I was reminded of the “4 C’s” that Creative Action programs inspire students to become: creative artists, critical thinkers, courageous allies, and confident leaders. While all of the VISTAs I met at PSO were focused on addressing different community needs through their service with all kinds of amazing organizations, as VISTAs we will each embody the”4 Cs” throughout our year of service as we solve problems with creativity and compassion, engage volunteers in meaningful service opportunities, and stand up against injustices in the community.

As an AmeriCorps VISTA I am proud to serve as a role model of the “4 C’s” in my community by supporting the mission of Creative Action to activate the academic, social and emotional development of youth through the creative arts, and I can’t wait to see what wonderful experiences this year will bring!

The 4 C’s Personified

by Mary Alice Carnes, Community Relations Director

Artwork from Art, Imagination, and Insight, February 5, 2012

I lost a very close friend this past week. She was loving, gracious, fun, loved to laugh and enjoyed going to the theater. A program close to her heart at St. Edward’s University was the College Assistance Migrant Program or CAMP, which helps first-year students from migrant and seasonal farm worker families develop needed skills to succeed in college. As an English Writing professor she taught not only about writing but using one’s passion to shape and inspire their work. My friend’s qualities stand out to me personally because they mirror the goals we have at Theatre Action Project, to inspire youth to be creative artists, courageous allies, critical thinkers, and confident leaders. She showed me every day:

  • How a creative artist generates ideas and finds the answers by following a hearty recipe of inspiration, collaboration and innovation;
  • What a courageous ally says when speaking up for a friend;
  • How a critical thinker looks at all sides of an issue in order to make the best decision possible, and
  • How a confident leader uses openness, strength and compassion.

I’m happy knowing Theatre Action Project is leading the charge and growing the next generation of artists, allies, thinkers and doers. My friend would be so happy.

Artwork from Art, Imagination, and Insight, February 5, 2012

February Skill Share

by Cassie Swayze, After School Programs Associate VISTA

After School I had the pleasure to host the first Skill Share of the spring semester here at the Theatre Action Project office on February 8th. Skill Shares are an excellent opportunity for our Teaching Artists (TA’s) to share their talents with their peers. Our February Skill Share was one of our best yet!

We started the evening with Benjamin Taylor, one of our TA’s at Creedmoor Elementary in Del Valle. Ben has taken TAP’s new mission to inspire our students as creative artists, courageous allies, critical thinkers, and confident leaders to heart in his classroom. In TAP After-School we call these the “4 Cs” and Ben is truly a 4C Teaching Artist. He manages to teach his kindergarten students what courageous allies and critical thinkers are; no small feat with young students. Whether they’re learning that courageous ally means “to be a good friend” or critiquing each others drawings as creative artists, they’re always using their critical thinking hats, which Ben graciously modeled for us. Read the rest of this entry

Counting My Blessings

by Mary Alice Carnes, Community Relations Director

Thanksgiving time makes me thankful for so many things: family, friends, and the great staff at Theatre Action Project. The mission at TAP steers us individually and collectively and I am thankful for the board, staff, the hard-working AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers, and teaching artists who work hard to inspire our youth.

I count creative artists, courageous allies, critical thinkers, and confident leaders as strong blessings in my life. They make my world alive with color and inspiration, safe and nurturing, innovative with new ideas, and motive me to imagine solutions and new possibilities.

What blessings in your life inspire you?

Bullying: One of the Most Urgent Problems Youth Face Today

by Karen LaShelle, Executive and Artistic Director

You have most likely seen the news highlighting the problem of bullying lately. The stories are tragic and troubling and it seems like they are becoming all too frequent. Most recently, Jamey Rodemeyer from Buffalo New York committed suicide after relentless harassment for being gay. Last year, Phoebe Prince, a 15-year old Irish immigrant committed suicide after extreme bullying by other girls in her school. Young people today deal with bullying in a whole new way in which the internet and cell phones have become dangerous, unsupervised spaces for bullies to make attacks. Read the rest of this entry


by Amanda Davis, Marketing Associate VISTA

Copyright by Amanda Davis, Mandolin Artworks

I watch as a leaf floats to the ground amongst its other fellow leaves. Today is the start of my favorite season, autumn. I have been absolutely in love with this season my whole life. The crisp air, beautiful orange, yellow and red leaves, and being able to wear jeans and a light jacket just brings me so much joy and elation. A year ago, I was working in upstate New York during this period (which is absolutely gorgeous in the fall); little did I know that in autumn 2011 I would get the opportunity to experience this great season in Austin, TX.

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Living our Mission Statement Every Day

by Freddy Carnes, Artistic Associate

I was very impressed at the recent Theatre Action Project staff retreat (it took place August 25-26th) with the new updated mission statement and the four areas where TAP makes an impact on children’s lives by helping them become: Creative Artists, Courageous Allies, Critical Thinkers and Confident Leaders.

Mission: Theatre Action Project uses the creative arts to activate the academic, social and emotional development of young people. Through interactive classroom performances, after school residencies and community based programs, TAP’s team of professional teaching artists inspire youth to be creative artists, courageous allies, critical thinkers and confident leaders in their community.

I began to think about all the ways that I do this every day in the classroom and in performing “World Tales and Tunes” for Pre-K students.  Here are a few thoughts:
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