open mind, open heART: A Secondary Analysis of Data From an Enrichment Arts Summer Program
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open mind, open heART was an enrichment arts program conducted at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in San Antonio, Texas. The program consisted of a 10-week structured summer camp providing children residing at the center with therapeutic benefits. For three hours a day, five days a week, children engaged in safe and creative activities that served as emotional outlets. The activities integrated multiple art activities including photography, videography, music, structured movement, character building lessons, and learning to make healthy snacks. The program was designed so children would feel a sense of empowerment as they made decisions about which activities to participate in each day. They also had to make choices throughout the program in order to complete the required number of sessions for each activity. Empowerment of choice allowed each child to practice judgment and decision making skills. Activities were designed specifically for the children focused on resiliency factors, protective factors and one or more of the 40-develomental assets such as responsibility, integrity, self-esteem, personal power, and resistance skills along with many others (Scales, 2005). Pre- and post-test data were collected from the children. Interviewing provided the opportunity for children to personally reflect on the activities they participated in and the impact it has had on their lives. The children also had the opportunity to participate in field trips to three different museums within the San Antonio area, as well as a talent show at the end of the summer program to display their artwork and celebrate their successes. A concluding statement about the children’s competence, character, confidence and connection about the children from pre to post program was summarized by a KCI RTC staff member: “our children really look happier, understand more, and know that we, the staff, are here for them. They are more loving, caring, and respectful.” It was asserted that open mind, open heART was a successful program that met and succeeded its goals over the summer.