|What Are Arts and Performances for Prevention?
Through music, drama, dance, and visual arts, youth can draw attention to problems in their communities, educate others on the benefits of crime prevention, and suggest ways to prevent crime. Arts and performances for prevention may take many forms, from 10-minute skits to full-length plays, from rap to opera, from posters to sculptures, from murals to musical compositions. Youth across the Nation have produced videos and photo essays, designed T-shirts and ceramics, played saxophones and violins, and danced ballet and modern jazzall to promote the prevention of crime and violence.
In Holyoke, MA, for example, a group of youth called New Visions/Nueva Visiones writes and performs plays that explore issues facing Latino youth in the community. Developing and performing these plays educates young theater members, their peers, and the community at large about poverty, violence, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and family issues. The program taps into and teaches such varied skills as acting, writing, carpentry, costume design, and management.
Ten cities and twenty National Guard sites in 23 States participate in the Do the Write Thing Challenge Program. Each student in the program, which is sponsored by the National Campaign to Stop Violence and funded in part by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), makes a written commitment to resist and combat violence in the community. Do the Write Thing goes far beyond writing. Participating students may form powerful con-nections with national, community, and business leaders. These leaders, in turn, sponsor Community Peace Partnerships that provide students with opportunities such as job-training internships. To learn more about Do the Write Thing and its exciting activities, contact the program directly. (Contact information for specific programs and organizations discussed in this Bulletin appears in the "Resources" section at the end of the publication.)