Liberal Arts Mentorship Program

Our Vision

     

Introduction


It is our intention to start a Liberal Arts Mentorship Program for at–risk youth aged 12 – 18. Our goal is to provide a safe space for at-risk youth to socialize after school and create art, music, poetry, practice yoga, and pursue further development in Liberal Arts.

At Infinite Expansion Foundation we realize from our personal experience that the ability to express yourself creatively is fundamental in the development of self-awareness and self-love.  Our goal is to provide youth with the tools needed to be able to express themselves and provide mentors to help students set and reach their goals. Mentors will also help them with homework. We want to encourage students to embrace, pursue, and develop artistic and social abilities. 


As a result of an identity crisis and through our personal experience, we have concluded that society as a whole has lost sense of the importance and need of getting in touch with one’s creative side. We believe the importance of Liberal Arts is to grow as an individual and to love and respect one’s self. 

Our goal is to not only provide a place of expression, but a place to spark intellectual conversation. Calls will be made to all local artists and intellectuals to volunteer their time and share their knowledge. 

It is our intention to start a Liberal Arts Mentorship Program location in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. We are asking for your financial support to help us raise our initial goal of $1.29 million dollars to help get this pilot project operational. Our initial demographic target is at-risk youth aged 12 - 18. 


   

Program Purpose and Objectives


Goals:

· Prevent addiction and reduce crime and violence through self-expression, education, and inspiration.

· Inspire creativity amongst youth and coach self- taught techniques.

· Develop and improve interpersonal / intrapersonal communication skills.

· Provide a safe space for expression and learning.

· Help students with their homework and promote self-discovery.

· Provide an individualized aspect of learning “What would you like to learn about today?”

· Inspire intellectual conversation to further their quest for knowledge.

· Provide positive role models to allow our students to achieve their goals and become productive members of society. 

· Provide the tools needed for self-discovery and self-expression; to allow the youth to create their own reality.

· Develop inspiration through visualization. 

· Increase individual cognitive consonance.


Objectives: 

Our goal is to create a safe space for youth, to inspire creativity and develop a quest for knowledge in an effort to prevent drug addiction and take action against the opioid epidemic. We aim to help youth who are at-risk of addiction and teach them to be productive members of society and help students who are suffering from an identity crisis. 

At Infinite Expansion Foundation, we believe Art Therapy is part of the solution. Our objective is to purchase a two story facility in Langley, B.C.  When the facility is established, the hours of operation will be Monday to Friday from 3:00pm-7:00pm and Saturday/Sunday from 10:00am-6:00pm. 

Our concept includes the following: 

A quiet section on one floor to include an open space with easels and canvases, and carving and pottery equipment. This floor will also contain a library with books from various philosophers, poets, historians, visionary authors and artists, half a dozen computers, and desks for homework. 

We plan on turning the other floor into the “loud section.” A place to create music, dance, and play instruments. There will be a small recording studio and a computer with mixing capabilities and producing software. Our objective is to help at-risk youth and inspire them to make art and music. 

We want to provide an individualized aspect of learning with certain days dedicated to professionally taught workshops such as creative writing, yoga, meditation, painting, carving, graphic design, and musically inclined lessons.


   

Target & Activities


Our vision is to create a safe space free from judgment and provide the necessary tools to allow kids to find their own method of self-expression. It is going to be a collaboration of intellectuals, artisans, and mentors (with real life experiences) coming together to share knowledge and inspire youth to find healthy activities and hobbies to supplement addictive, and destructive behaviors.  


Our vision to have a facility that will contain the following:

· Arts and craft room (paint, canvases, easels, carving tools, and pottery wheels will be provided).

· Music room (will provide musical instruments, including a basic recording studio for aspiring artists).

· Library/ poetry room.

· Computers and desks for studying and mentorship. 

· One-on-one counseling with students to help set goals and plans to reach those goals.

· Tutorship and mentorship of high school students. 

· A magnetic board with educational and beautiful magnetic words written to inspire creativity. 


With 4,000 square feet of usable space, we intend to initially have a maximum capacity of 30 youths at a time. The demographic we are targeting is high school students in the greater Langley area aged 12-18. We have already partnered with a music recording studio in Langley who will be willing to volunteer their time and expertise.  

It is our hope that our facility will affect the lives of hundreds of teenagers in the surrounding area.  Not only do we want to provide a place for learning and expression, once established, we hope to host various workshops to teach basic job and life skills. This mentorship program will potentially lead to an employment program incorporated into our daily activities. 

The impact on the community could include:

· The prevention of addiction and crime.

· Improve interpersonal communication amongst youth in order to help them excel in school

· Improve intrapersonal skills to help students create and reach their goals.  

Addiction, crime, and violence go hand in hand. Any youth is at risk of becoming a victim of drug addiction these days. The overall benefit this program will have on the community could include:

· Lower rates of property crime

· Reduced overdoses, and on a yearly basis; 

· Increase the rates of students graduating high school. 

We will help students become aware of their strengths and weaknesses. To leverage their strengths and reduce the impact of their weaknesses. Teaching self-worth will lead them to a better understanding of their place in society and using their creativity to pursue a career they will love.


  

Proof of Concept in Regards to Art Therapy


With the fentanyl crisis growing more and more rampant each year; action must be taken immediately to help our youth and provide a safe space for them. “Our youth are our future”

Every year that goes by the number of homelessness amongst youth is growing exponentially and becoming a real crisis in our society. We feel that our mentorship program will give the youth a sense of purpose and help them better understand their role in society.

It is our opinion that addiction leads to homelessness, crime and possible violence. Art Therapy could have a profound effect on preventing addiction and crime.


Art therapy is a great way to deal with past traumas, and also to release aggression through expression. Here is part of an article titled “Physiological Benefits of Art Therapy” written by Asa Down Brown, in 2012 regarding the potential benefits of art therapy.

https://www.ccpa-accp.ca/psychological-benefits-of-art-therapy/

· Art Therapy is capable of promoting self-expression, feelings, and emotions.

· It has an ability to facilitate positive perspectives on one’s self. It is capable of promoting a sense of personal independence, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency.

· Art Therapy has an ability to help a child work through difficult experiences. It allows a child to verbally and nonverbally communicate emotions that might otherwise be abandoned or sealed from society. Therapy instills constructive techniques to self-manage.

· It can increase one’s awareness and orientation (i.e. persons, places, dates, and times). It is capable of facilitating and developing strategies for hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and finger dexterity and speed. 

· It encourages the development of healthy coping strategies. 

· Therapy can facilitate insight, empathy, and acceptance of other’s life challenges.

· It is capable of promoting problem-solving skills.

· Art therapy is capable of exploring, managing, and providing insight into traumatic experiences.

· A child receiving therapy is encouraged to develop interpersonal skills. It empowers and gives a voice to those receiving therapy. It is capable of helping a child increase their attention-span, while decreasing any festering frustrations.


Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages.” (American Art Therapy Association, 2012, Online)


“Numerous case studies have reported that art therapy benefits patients with both emotional and physical illnesses. Case studies have involved many areas, including burn recovery in adolescents and young children, eating disorders, emotional impairment in young children, reading performance, and childhood grief. Studies of adults using art therapy have included adults or families in bereavement, patients and family members dealing with addictions… ‘Some of the potential uses of art therapy to be researched include reducing anxiety levels, improving recovery times, decreasing hospital stays, improving communication and social function, and pain control.” (American Cancer Society, 2012, Online)

Over the course of the year, the number of young people who spend some time homeless in Canada is as many as 40,000, and on any given night, there may be up to 7,000 homeless youth.”-https://www.covenanthousetoronto.ca/homeless-youth/Youth-Homelessness [1]


Here is a passage written by Graeme Martell expressing how art changed his life. “I feel that embracing not only art, but the liberal arts is fundamental in helping people understand the beauty in not only the world around them, but also their purpose in this universe. After learning to express thyself only then did I finally get to know myself, and love myself for whom I am. The quest of expression to see the beauty in myself has led me to see the beauty in nature and also other individuals. Through self-expression I have learned to respect other people’s opinions and beliefs. The first lost art that I discovered was painting, one day I had an overwhelming need to express myself and created this painting from drywall and various black and white paint I had lying around my house. Recently I have discovered Philosophy and have been writing allegorical poems that have a deeper sense of self reflection. It has led me to supplement my chemical addictions into an addiction of expression and knowledge, to learn, and to create. Poetry has allowed me view things from a completely different perspective, for example here is a poem I wrote ‘If we were to think of ourselves as a plant, and its flowers are to symbolize love, then only after we harnessed the power from the sun, could we grow and bloom. Our seeds of love will be spread by the winds of change.’” The discovery of art that has made me the person I am today."

 

   

Summary


Thank you for taking the time to read our proposal. We are interested in pursuing potential partnerships. This pilot project will hopefully be the start of something much bigger. Together we will make the world a brighter and more beautiful place! It is our belief that inspiring creativity will lead to the creation of a brighter and more beautiful world. Our mission statement is “An infinite expansion, of infinite possibilities, an infinite idea of infinite logic and infinite reason.”  Simply said, we are focused, and truly believe anything is possible. 

We believe that knowledge is the contemplation of the individual, but wisdom is the collaboration from the minds of many. From life experience, we know that youth these days are at-risk of becoming addicted to drugs.  Financially, any nominal donation will help in our efforts to reach our goal of $1.29 million dollars.  We greatly appreciate your support. If you are not in a financial position to help, we are also looking for volunteers.  



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