The other day, I met with the program director, Lauren Appel, of the Arts Connect Hilltop Glass Art Program. We were talking about the workshops at Denney Juvenile Justice Center and working with teens in detention. The Hilltop Glass Art program came onto my radar when I was working on the research for STAINED GLASS SUMMER.
The Hilltop Program is a program created specifically for court-involved girls, ages 11 – 19, living in Pierce County. Pierce County Juvenile Court partners with Hilltop Artists to run the program and girls are referred to one or more sessions by probation or diversion officers.
Staff works closely with probation officers to enroll girls in 10 to 12-week sessions held at community sites. Staff, teaching artists, and a probation officer co-facilitate these weekly three-hour classes. Hands-on art projects are generated from discussions about identity, society and healthy lifestyles. Each week snack is provided and a family-style dinner is served. Participants may arrive up to an hour early to work on homework or talk with adults and peers about the week’s ups and downs.
At the end of each session family, friends, judges, probation officers and the public attend a showcase event in which participants exhibit their artwork. At the showcase participants also inform the audience about their service learning/philanthropy project. For each service learning/philanthropy project the participants identify a topic that is meaningful to them, invite a guest speaker from a community organization addressing that topic to class, and create art that benefits the organization.–From the Hilltop Arts Connect Website
The following is a video about the work the girls do in the program. It’s an inspiring video and I hope you’ll watch it.