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Crayons Are Cool Again In South Central Los Angeles

Everyone on the planet is born creative. Deep in our souls, there’s a desire to make something amazing and beautiful that tells the story of who we are and why we’re unique.

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Wherever or whenever you grew up, chances are, at some point you were given a box of crayons. But, later, whether it was to refocus you on academic studies or to “grow up,” the crayons went away. What kind of trade-off is that?

At A Place Called Home, we think imagination and creativity are every bit as important as academic achievement, and we’re giving the crayons back!

Creativity is our only hope

Creativity is critical to the cognitive development of all children. Giving boys and girls space and tools to express themselves artistically builds self-awareness, communication skills, and confidence.

From imagination springs innovation, one of the keys to success in this fast-changing world. At APCH, whether painting, dancing, singing, or acting, our kids are developing their creative capacities to shine bright when they enter the working world as adults.

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Space to create at A Place Called Home

Bernyce Talley, our Visual Arts and Digital Media Lead, grew up not that far from A Place Called Home. She knows about the challenges young people face in this neighborhood ... and she knows why creativity and the arts are so important in their lives.

Bernyce shares, “I’m a part of this community. I joined A Place Called Home at a time when a lot of arts programming was being eliminated from schools. Students weren't allowed to discover themselves anymore. At A Place Called Home, we open our doors to members that typically wouldn't have access to these creative activities at their schools. They need the arts — whether they want to be artists or engineers or scientists or lawyers or doctors, it's a good way for them find out who they're going to be. That's why I’m passionate about working here.”

The opportunity for young people to explore and express themselves through art is why the creative spaces are so critical at A Place Called Home. From the art studio to the dance studio, digital media classroom, recording studio, theater, and gallery, the artistic output is amazing!

“I appreciate their trust in me and allowing me to be a part of their lives, by sharing what happened in their day or how they did at school,” Bernyce says. “Just having those casual moments to sit and talk. It makes the day worthwhile. And, I reinforce to them that they’re good kids because I know too many people out there are telling them they’re bad … not great … not smart. But they are. And, they’re strong. I want them to know they’re seen ... because sometimes that makes all the difference.”

Vilma is finding her true north through ... art

Five years ago, Vilma came to A Place Called Home with her twin sister, Emma. They were both sweet elementary schoolers, but quiet and unsure. They mostly kept to themselves, and even spoke their own secret language to each other.

It soon became clear that Vilma was really talented artistically. She excelled in her projects, but she never seemed satisfied with her creations. We just kept affirming her work. “It doesn’t have to be perfect,” we would say. “It just needs to reflect you.”

Vilma rarely misses an art class. She works tirelessly. And, last December she and Emma sold a collaborative work at our annual auction.

Now, as a freshman in high school, art is what’s helping Vilma navigate this whole new experience with confidence. She is already an accomplished artist, and there is so much more to come. A Place Called Home will be with her every step of her journey, all the way through high school and college. Whether she continues her artistic pursuits or decides to be a scientist or become governor of California, her abilities to imagine, to innovate, and to express herself with a strong creative voice will serve her well.

If you’d like to find out more about how A Place Called Home is giving kids their crayons back and the keys to their imaginations through our Arts and Creative Expression programs, please click here.

Bernyce and Kids