IMG_5136“I really didn’t want to be here. I had no intention of coming, but the first day, everything flipped and I started to like it because it gave me a chance to be creative. I was always sectioned off because I was real anti-social and I wasn’t good at interacting with other people, but within these past couple of weeks, I’ve been interacting with many people more, and I’m breaking out of my shell.” –Daijah

Most-at-Risk Direct Services for Outside-of-School Programming, Our commitment to youth most at risk of educational and societal failure. We begin with connections for youth in the Erie County Youth Detention Center. Our year round M@Re program partners with Erie County Department of Mental Health to help reduce recidivism. Our teen programs offer opportunities for youth to develop skills that will assist them in navigating the world successfully. We have born witness to the life affirming and changing moments that found their way into the participant’s lives through connection with Young Audiences programs. Our afterschool programs provide a dynamic and culturally rich educational experience for students, in a safe and supportive environment. Youth work with artists in spoken word, creative writing, drama, memoirs, visual arts, and technology activities. Youth engaged with resources available through Central Library and participate in meaningful art making, self-reflection and engagement in the community. The majority of youth served live in the City of Buffalo, with about 10% coming from other Erie County towns such as Lackawanna, Cheektowaga, and Tonawanda.

During the 2013 – 2014 academic year  the retention rate went from 55% at the inception of the program to an increase of 83% at the end of the reporting period. This rate of retention is considerable given these young people are experiencing serious emotional, behavioral and/or social challenges, are at significant risk of placement outside of their home, or have already been placed out of their home and need additional services in order to successfully return home. They may have been charged with a crime or have been recently released from a detention facility, exhibit self-destructive behaviors, are victims of abuse, with a majority of these young people living in poverty.

In June 2014, M@Re was profiled by Eileen Buckley on WBFO, highlighting the need in our community for this program and the positive impact it has on our youth. Click here to see the whole story and Click here to see work samples for these programs