How to Introduce Creative Youth Development into an Existing Afterschool Program
The Casita Maria Story
By Anne Dunning
Out-of-school time program leaders know that engagement is critical to their ability to achieve youth outcomes. Programs have to ignite and sustain participants’ interest in order to help them thrive. According to the Search Institute, “The major component of thriving is the concept of ‘sparks’—the interests and passions young people have that light a fire in their lives” (Scales, 2010). Research into these “sparks” identified creative arts as the top-ranked interest among teens aged 12 to 17, cited by 54 percent of teens surveyed (Benson, 2008).