WHO WE ARE
ASTEP was conceived by Broadway Musical Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Juilliard students to transform the lives of youth using the most powerful tool they had: their art. Today, ASTEP connects performing and visual artists with underserved youth in the U.S. and around the world to awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking, and help them break the cycle of poverty.
WE DEFINE POVERTY AS A LACK OF CHOICE
At ASTEP, we are deeply committed to empowering individuals who suffer from an absence of choice—especially children. The right to choose is a fundamental human right, and we strive to end the poverty that robs us of that humanity. By awakening imaginations and fostering creativity, the performing and visual arts create a unique safe space to rediscover choice. The young people we serve imagine new futures, new possibilities, and gain the skills and strength to achieve them.
WHY THE ARTS?
ACCESS TO THE ARTS IS ESSENTIAL
TO A CHILD'S ACADEMIC AND SOCIAL SUCCESS
From improving reading comprehension to advancing creative thinking, from teaching problem solving to fostering collaboration, access to the arts brings about significant improvements in children’s educational and social development.
HOW WE WORK
WE PARTNER WITH SCHOOLS
AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS
Our programs engage youth ages 4-21 years old through collaborations with schools and community organizations, serving a population of low-income, immigrant, migrant and refugee youth. In addition, our programming is research-based, employing nationally accredited Kennedy Center learning standards to train artists and create arts curricula.
ASTEP'S ARTISTS ARE THE KEY TO OUR SUCCESS
The quality of the artists who volunteer with ASTEP uniquely positions us among other arts education nonprofits. Our Volunteer Artists are highly successful Broadway performers, professional artists, or students and faculty from schools such as Juilliard, offering a variety of disciplines such as dance, visual art, music, and drama. They become transformative role models in the lives of the youth we serve, combining their passion for the arts and their ability to use artistic tools to teach important life skills.
Founder and Executive Director
Associate Director of Communications
Director of Programs and Evaluation
Assistant Coordinator of Future Leaders Network
Director of Future Leaders Network
Associate Director of Volunteer Outreach
Director of Development and Operations
In NYC and South Florida, ASTEP Volunteer Artists deliver arts education to low-income, immigrant, migrant and refugee youth populations through after-school classes and summer camps.
In India, South Africa, and the Dominican Republic, ASTEP Volunteer Artists deliver multi-week arts camps to children in deeply underserved communities.
Through ASTEP Chapters, Interactive Workshops and the annual Artist as Citizen Conference, ASTEP introduces young artists to the diverse ways they can strengthen their communities and empower individuals through the arts.
ASTEP IS LOOKING FOR PASSIONATE ARTISTS
WHO WANT TO USE THE ARTS
TO TRANSFORM CHILDREN'S LIVES.
“IT'S THE PERFECT COMBINATION OF MY PASSIONS: TEACHING, THEATRE, MUSIC AND TRAVELLING”
"I was drawn to ASTEP’s determination that the arts can and will teach children positive life and social skills, and that these skills are so powerful that they can help these children free themselves from the poverty cycle. I want to be part of that.”
LYNN BIXLER | ASTEP VOLUNTEER ARTIST
“ONE OF THE THINGS THE PROGRAM DOES IS INSTILL A SENSE OF FAMILY AND COMMUNITY”
"I have changed as an artist since working with ASTEP and seen my own artistic personality change in a positive direction. I am better in many instances for that.” Raymundo Gutierrez, ASTEP Volunteer Artist
RAYMUNDO GUTIERREZ | ASTEP VOLUNTEER | ARTIST
“THE ART PROGRAMS EQUIPPED ME WITH THE SKILLS TO APPRECIATE DEPTH AND DETAIL, AN INVALUABLE ABILITY REQUIRED FOR THE STUDY OF LAW”
Karthika Annamalai, the daughter of a quarry worker from a poverty-stricken region of India, was fortunate to receive an education at Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project, an ASTEP partner. She participated in ASTEP art programs throughout primary and secondary school, excelling in visual arts and becoming an accomplished cellist, taught by ASTEP volunteer musicians. Her dedication to academics and talent for the arts, along with the confidence and belief in a better future that ASTEP programs helped foster, helped Karthika to secure a spot in law school, where she is currently completing her first year.
KARTHIKA ANNAMALAI | ASTEP STUDENT
IN MEMORY OF JENNIFER ANNE SALTZSTEIN KAFFENBERGER
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- Brings joy to a homeless child.
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- Creates a safe space for refugee youth.
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