Deep Center relaunched “Drop-In,”a free program for young people ages 13-19 in the community to provide fun, accessible, culturally-responsive, and trauma-informed workshops ranging from visual arts to performing arts and more.
“Our aim is to build a space where our young people can find joy, mentoring, support, and opportunities to explore their creativity,” said Kathy Esparza, Director of Youth Programs.
In her role Esparza supports the Work Readiness and Enrichment program, which is a partnership with courts, schools and Deep Center.
Originally a spin-off of their Block by Block program in 2018, Drop-in was created to offer programming, especially for systems-involved youth. Systems-involved youth including young people in foster care, juvenile court, and alternative schools.
“We work with system impacted young people to provide a wraparound service program where they have opportunities to do their schoolwork, as well as to engage in trauma-informed programming and more that focus on art, life skills, and professional development,” said Esparza.
Drop-In provides a thoughtful, intentional, and easy entry into Deep spaces, without the immediate long-term commitment that other programs like the Young Author Project or Block by Block require. Drop-In is designed to addresses the trauma young people might have experienced in traditional learning spaces.
“Drop-In is a really awesome program and a safe space. In addition to our community, we work with local artists from across the city to bring just one to two hour sessions of different programs, from performance arts to visual arts, cooking, advocacy, community organizing, hair-braiding, politics and more,” said Esparza.
Drop-In will take place at three key partner locations: The Front Porch, Gateway’s Club House, and the City of Savannah’s PARC Center. Session themes will offer a diverse array of opportunities including jewelry making, food, politics, dance, podcasting, and many more.
“The dream is that eventually we can expand the program to a lot more community centers, perhaps some faith based on spaces in the different neighborhoods of our community as well as in the neighboring communities, because we know that is where we can reach a lot of young people,” said Esparza.
Drop-In will offer workshops that help young people know their rights and ways as a community they come together and organize. Through this they want young people to know they have a voice and the importance of contributing their voice.
“I think our spaces are political and should always be political. The arts have been at the forefront of all social movements and all political movements. We need to cultivate those spaces for our young people where that is part of what we encourage as a village for our young people. They have these spaces where they can continue to cultivate themselves and their powerful voices to be decision makers and in our communities,” said Esparza.
The program aims is to build love and trust with young people, and direct them into other programs offered by Deep Center to ensure their long-term support by the Deep Center community.
“I think this is really powerful. Drop-In programs open the opportunity for our young people to see themselves as the artists that can do that work out in our community. They can sell their art, they can be part of an art team in our community and so much more,” said Esparza.
Drop-In relaunched on March 9, and the spring series will go through May.
To view the whole schedule of upcoming Drop-In programming visit deepcenter.org