New Club Looks to Bring The Arts to Philadelphia Youth

The Temple University chapter of Artists Striving to End Poverty is kicking off the semester with several programs that will connect children in the Philadelphia area to the arts.

On a national level, Artists Striving to End Poverty, or ASTEP, was created by Broadway Musical Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and students at Juilliard as a means to introduce low income youth to interdisciplinary art that they might not have had access to in their education system. ASTEP’s members interact with children in order to improve reading comprehension, advance critical thinking and teach problem solving in a creative way.

The Temple chapter was founded in 2015 by students Cindy Paul and Julia Haines. The girls have been friends since they were in elementary school and joined forces to bring ASTEP’s mission to Temple.

“Cindy approached me in October and it’s been really exciting since then seeing how the most basic ideas grow into this really widespread organization,” said Haines. “The amount of press, recognition and support that we’ve gotten from Temple and the students is really exciting.”

The club’s mission at Temple is to connect the youth of Philadelphia with interdisciplinary arts such as visual art and dance to help spark their imagination and ideally end the cycle of poverty.

“At Temple University we are really looking to increase awareness of the educational and socioeconomic injustices in the Philadelphia area,” said Paul. “In terms of the community we are looking to go into schools and give arts workshops and after school programs that really help to foster a sense of creativity and passion in local students.”

ASTEP’s first project of the year took place at All Star Movements School of Dance located in Philadelphia. During their time at All Star Movements, members of ASTEP worked with children ages 4-5 and gave them an introduction to art and dance. Co-Owner of All Star Movement School of Dance, Syiedah Walker, was enthusiastic at the idea of Temple students coming to interact with the children.

“Our artistic director wanted to incorporate more of the arts into our program here and she got in contact with Cindy who is the President of ASTEP at Temple and decided that they would come in and volunteer,” said Walker. “The kids in the area need the creative outlet because there is not a lot of that out here.”

Although the club is new at Temple, ASTEP already has plans to collaborate with other schools and youth organizations in the city such as Bayard Taylor Elementary School in order to further their cause.


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