Smarty Pants Are Leaders | Empowering youth by building self-confidence, self-reliance, and healthy nutritional choices
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Why Invest In Our Children?

Smarty Pants Are Leaders teaches leadership skills through Art and Gardening to children in under served urban environments. We focus on youth empowerment by building self-confidence, self-reliance, and healthy nutritional choices. We demonstrate whats possible for the children in life through an experiential interdisciplinary curriculum that gives the individual the tools to realize his or her dreams.

We understand that there exists a resource and performance disparity between urban public schools and suburban public schools. Public schools in wealthy suburban districts have more funding due to higher taxes. The classes are often smaller, yielding a smaller teacher to student ratio. There are more alternative activities and the students are often times less violent and the environment is safer. Generally, the inner city can be a vibrant, inspiring and thriving place to attend school. There are, however, urban school districts of a city that are more challenging.

While we cannot change neighborhood dynamics, we are hoping to provide a platform to empower children who live in such neighborhoods so that they may have more self-confidence and self-determination to make the right choices. Smarty Pants are Leaders values and embraces the management of diversity at every level. We seek to reflect in our workforce and volunteers the diverse children served by our programs.

Austin Fine Arts Center

Smarty Pants Are Leaders (SPAL) is committed to offering a holistic solution to reducing crime on the West-side of Chicago as well as other urban communities. We strongly believe that children are the path to success, given the proper access to resources and guidance along the way but understand the value of including all family members and consideration of the community so that the youth are not shouldering their growth alone. SPAL began a partnership in 2012 with Catalyst Circle Rock Elementary CCR, offering Art & Gardening Classes to the 4th Grade. During that time, I became aware of a 1000 seat auditorium that was desolate and unused. I asked, then what can I and SPAL do to bring this stage to life.

We are excited to continue planting seeds and growing our partnership with CCR as we along with several key stake holders bring the stage to life. Through the redesign and development of the Austin Fine Arts Center AFAC, we will engage the parents of our Catalyst Circle Rock Elementary school parents, other program providers and the greater Austin Community to provide a safe space for the Arts to be explored, created, and performed. The AFAC will also serve as a community hub for job ready classes, social and mental health healing activities like mediation and creative writing workshops in the classrooms slated for design under the stage.