Our philosophy, based on our years of research, experience and evaluation, can be summed up in the diagram above. This means that within every class–with every interaction with children–all artist teachers, assistants, therapists and volunteers intentionally work with children, their families and their communities through:
1. Three basic goals - Facilitating
Hope: Having a future orientation
Healing: Gaining holistic well-being
Resilience: Acquiring and using both internal and external resources to bounce back form adversity
2. A method characterized by four central concepts
Person-Centered: Placing the needs of the participant before other considerations and providing age-appropriate services and "meeting" the participant where "they" are.
Hope-Infused: Helping participants (children, families and communities) develop will-power and way-power in discovering a future vision for themselves and finding a path to accomplish it.
Trauma-Informed: Informed and sensitive to the neurological, biological, psychological, and social effects of trauma and violence on children
Arts-Integrated: Creating and making-art as a method or way to teach non-art subjects, especially life skills
3. The BuildaBridge Classroom^TM/ Child-Safe-Spaces is our model used to engage and interact with children and communities. It includes the following elements:
• Art as metaphor
• Creating a safe environment with boundaries of space and behavior to create a safe place
• Speaking Blessings/Praise/Affirmations
• Holistic development that includes academic, social, artistic, and spiritual aspects
• The Creative Artist/trained trauma-aware facilitator