My thesis project was based upon the 826 program, which is an after school creative writing program for kids k-12. Each of the 826 programs has a storefront, which not only acts as a source of income for the non-profit organization, it also acts as a connection to the community and a way to get more kids involved with the program.
I met with educators at East Bronx Academy of the Future, and they said that kids don't want to leave school. Their favorite programs are dance and music programs. So I took the 826 program and expanded it to include music, dance, and theatre.
The building is Fulton Street Penitentiary. I chose this building based on the fact that some states use the number of kids who are failing in fourth grade to project the number of prison beds they will need. This becomes a crucially important because of another statistic, 58% of kids in the Bronx are functionally illiterate in the Bronx. Fulton Street Penitentiary is located on Crotona park, where kids play daily, and it stands as a beacon of a sad future that these kids cannot escape. Thus the project's goal is to turn it instead into a beacon of hope and a future that is much brighter.
I was inspired by new philosophies in education including Experiential Learning, Active Involvement, Project Based Learning.
Project Based learning is the backbone of the 826 program. The idea is that kids work alone or in groups on a project from beginning to end, teaching them to finish things as well as improving their self esteem. Thus at 826 they will write a play, build the sets, make the flyers, sell the tickets, and perform the show.
Active Involvement is the idea that the best way to get kids focused is to engage their bodies as well as their minds.
Experential Learning, is the idea that the best way to learn is by doing. The best way to teach art history is to teach painting. The students begin to understand
Status: School Project
Location: Bronx, NY, US