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Mission and Goals

Guiding Practices


Peace Event



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Paul Hillman

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The Mission of the Cultural Arts Coalition, Arizona: 501 (c) 3, a nonpartisan organization in existence since 2005: identifying, analyzing, promoting, celebrating and documenting community and educational project-based, multidisciplinary learning practices.

Vision: The work stimulates social awareness and advocacy: honors diverse cultural values; supports analytical, creative, and human/leadership skill set development for personal transformation and collective change. It is also nurtures relationships and promotes a sense of belonging and respect within a larger community recognizing the value of each individual.

YAC Gathering @ Camelback H.S. beginning of the school year with AVID juniors. and seniors...

Judy Butzine, MSW, is the contracted Director of CAC Youth Advisory Councils, which support and promote an integrated arts and systems theory curriculum (R. Stichweh, 2011) embracing a whole person approach (physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual). This methodology is intended to enhance youth awareness, action, advocacy and self-assessment in human and leadership skill set development, and inspire a sense of self in community, empowered with purpose and goals. All of this occurs in a complex interwoven social, environmental and political system seeking positive outcomes to many educational and community challenges. Systems Theory (International Encyclopedia of Political Science) 2011

Cause for requested CAC formation of Youth Advisory Councils within Balsz and Wilson School districts

"Arizona Earns a D-Plus on State Report Card, Ranks 45th in Nation", Education Week, June '17. The Center for Student Achievement reported Feb. '17, "Arizona Ranks 49th in Education Funding." The U.S. Census Bureau records Arizona's Maricopa County as currently the county with the nation's highest annual population growth. Phoenix is 5th largest city in USA. June 13, 2017, the Arizona Republic printed: "...Arizona State is rated 46th near the bottom of a national survey on child well-being in a report by Annie E. Casey Foundation". The survey considered kids living in poverty, to teen birthrate and access to health care. The article suggested: the researched data may contribute negatively to the infrastructure and mission/vision of Public Schools located in the heart of a downtown, lower economic community. The Balsz and Wilson School districts are situated within economically depressed neighborhoods.

CAC Call to ACTION: Within CAC Youth Advisory Councils The Circle of Power introduces the participants to the Project-based learning theme followed by reflective dialogue, critical/analytical inquiry, researched problem solving and innovative expression. The programming is intended to suport and promote positive, social challenge outcomes through a sequential, developmental process.

Example: Each youth council examined and discussed then created Public Service posters (PSA's) reflecting their particular Youth for United Nations Human Rights issue. above image. Balsz Youth Council/NJHS (ongoing, after school programming during the school year.)

Youth Council Development within vulnerable populations addresses Social theory concepts of diversity, social justice, self-determination and advances positive social change through action collective impact, community service, and student advocacy.

Youth Advisory Council's combined Mission Statement: We are Youth Leaders for change, collaborating within schools and Neighborhoods to promote civic engagement and activities which support strong, united families and safe communities through acts of peace building and respect.

Camelback H.S., U.N./G.A.I.N. event, Oct. '17

In Practice: The Cultural Arts Coalition builds upon individual and community capacities and resources through outlined core values and guiding principles of practice ( Coalition work is collaborative, egalitarian, relationship-oriented and celebrative. Through educational programming the Cultural Arts Coalition provides safe spaces for reflective thinking, dialogue, and action (utilizing the arts as symbolism and metaphor) to explore universal human themes. Experiences are focused on personal growth as well as community action, toward an enhanced quality of life for all.

Public Service Announcement on Human Rights at Camelback H.S. for United Nations/G.A.I.N.

Fall Community Service program: AVID Youth Advisory Council at Camelback H.S. promoted and participated in the United Nations/G.A.I.N. (Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods), Celebration Oct. 24th, 2016,for over 2,200 youth/staff. It was organized and facilitated by the CAC's administrators and artists...with students in attendance from Wilson NJHS 7th and 8th grades, YAC participants.

Keith Johnson and Muslimah Hameed provided the drum and dance experience for all to enjoy...We come together with open arms to care for ALL in Unity...Keith

Everyone had fun painting a mural and one another with Mikey B. artist!

The Following is Camelback's H.S.'s assessment of the United Nations/G.A.I.N. celebration

"Many community cultural development projects are built around learning experiences. Overall, the aim is to transmit particular arts- related skills while helping to develop critical thinking and establish a clear link between the two capabilities, thought leading to action."

Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development. D. Adams & A. Goldbard, p.28.

Desired Outcomes: Diverse, youth advisory councils', collaborative efforts are focused on Project-based learning themes to ensure success for students and community members living within the Wilson and Balsz School Districts. One of the first initiatives of the CAC human and leadership skill set, development collaborations has been the creation and management of the youth advisory councils for the purpose of engaging students in positive activities of daily living. More importantly the curriculum is intended to empower youth to consider thoughtful choices of respect, restraint and personal responsibility in their behavioral reactions and during civic engagement...

Wilson School CAC Youth Advisory Council functions after school through the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) instructed by Mr. Thomas Sejen. This youth council spent 2 months on instructional Project-based learning concerning teachings of peace from a true story of Sadako, a Japanese girl who survived the WWII atomic bombing, but eventually died from leukemia. During Sadako's illness, it was suggested she create 1,000 origami cranes, a mythological story which grants the creator a wish when the cranes are completed

These small paper symbols of peace which the YAC students learned to make translated into a wonderful story that motivated the Wilson and the Balsz students (where both NJHS youth councils completed this same project-based learning activity) then purchased peace poles for the campuses to remind everyone daily of spreading random acts of kindness and peacemaking to all persons.

Balsz YAC with peace pole for Balsz School

Taiko drumming by Balsz Youth Council for community event, the dedication of the peace pole

Shared Primary CAC goals for the fifth year facilitating these Youth Advisory Councils have been:

  • CAC continues to be active within the youth advisory councils, facilitating human and leadership skill set development to enhance the educational and civic engagement opportunities for all participants.
  • CAC assists securing additional funding to implement two youth-led, community service efforts yearly, hosted by each of the four (4) youth councils: students, designated classroom teachers and community members within the local neighborhoods.
  • CAC Identifies and invites other community organizations and/or individuals to collaborate, providing additional skill sets/social service resources for human and leadership development depending upon the identified social challenge needs by the specific youth council.

    Another Community YAC example was held @ a Wilson Assembly and Celebration organized and facilitated by the CAC, Feb. 22,2017:

    The morning assembly at Wilson Middle School began at 0915 with Ken Koshio, Taiko Drummer, and his team, ushering 500 students and community residents into the gym to experience the induction of the 28 NJHS students instructed by Thomas Sejen.

    This was also the time to unveil and dedicate the peace pole, newly purchased with 8 languages stating "May Peace Prevail on the Earth for All".

    Following the peace pole unveiling inspirational Rap artist, Colby Jeffers, sang "I can, you Can, We can Change the world"

    The Wilson NJHS President then asked the guests/students to stand for the pledge of the alliance to the flag.

    This was followed by the NJHS President leading the NJHS Pledge...and the induction of the Wilson CAC youth advisory council students. Very inspirational for everyone in attendance!

    I have learned so much about human rights, cultures around me, and the value that we are all equal. - President of NJHS

    The CAC Youth Advisory Councils have identified and recorded their shared core values:

  • Friendship because we think this is the best thing one can have.
  • Family because they will be there for us always.
  • Freedom because we want to have the right to do a lot of things in life.
  • Confidence is important because you can better communicate your needs.
  • Volunteering and community service because we are helping our community and this leads to self- esteem.
  • A good education so we can think better and solve complex problems.
  • Honesty is essential for assisting us to be better people.
  • Helping everyone in our community have enough money to live well.
  • Safety on our streets and in our neighborhoods.
  • Good Leadership skills to help ourselves and others.
  • Acceptance-Everyone needs to be included so they will feel important.
  • The CAC YAC methodology for community organization and building embraces all individuals (youth and adults).

    Wilson Students' quotes Thank you for enriching us with knowledge and helping us engage with others...Thank you so much for helping us in NJHS. You have taught me how to respect others and to be more concerned about my surroundings.

    During CAC cognitive, developmental skill set practices, followed by reflection and group discussion, the students are honored and celebrated for their critical inquiry interpretations of the messages read in the book Sadako. The pictures above depict youth from multiple cultural and racial backgrounds creating origami cranes. CAC artists and staff recognizing the value of these students acquired ancestral knowledge. Pictures are from YAC at Griffith School (Balsz School District-44th St North of McDowell) where youth also participated in the Sadako Project- based learning activity...

    Paulo Freire's Message for Social Workers: "Looking Back, Looking Ahead". CAC facilitators consider this teaching of "popular education"; a means to initiate social change through a system's theory/ educational process. Freire's philosophy and methods place an emphasis on "creating critical consciousness" through dialogue and action-based community organizing and education (Carroll & Minkler, 2000)

    If students are not able to transform their lived experiences into knowledge and to use the already acquired knowledge as a process to unveil new knowledge, they will never be able to participate rigorously in a dialogue as a process of learning and knowing. (Freire, 2000, Pedagogy of the Oppressed)

    Spring Community Celebration: A Community Wellness Event occurred on Saturday, April 21st, 2017, at Balsz Elementary School for all of the area families and friends to attend and learn more about how to care for oneself through many means of mental wellness and physical health prevention programs. There also were art making activities engaging national Earth Day Programming. This event was FREE to ALL and was hosted by the NJHS students at Balsz School NJHS students under the guidance of Ms. Heidi Strate's and Ms. Chelsey Saperstein's YAC group from Griffith School up the street.

    All YAC students assisted with art making for those children coming to this Saturday, Community Celebration. Many of the young guests were exposed to the value and importance of the desert to this local area and creating reflective water colored artworks.

    Learning about various social service programs available in the community was also vital as a means of presenting social service resources to assist in social challenges of daily living. This year the celebration embraced Earth Day including CAC artists to facilitate additional art making activities.

    Earth Day's 2017 Campaign: "Education is the foundation for progress." We wish to promote and build a global citizenry fluent in knowledge to inspire action in defense of environmental protection. The Phoenix Department of Water brought in literature on Reimagine Phoenix Transforming Trash into Resources. Wonderful booklet titled JOIN R TEAM: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reconsider and Reimagine everyday (4th-7th graders)!

    Bagged lunches of healthy foods from UMOM Catering were available for everyone along with water. UMOM, the Family Shelter in Phoenix, has established their own catering service and opened a café on site to teach work place skill development to the residents.

    The NJHS students at Balsz School had studied and prepared for this event for many months including learning Taiko drumming taught by Taiko teacher Eileen Morgan. A Peace Pole had already been ordered and installed on the campus in November. Saturday was the official dedication of the pole to the community.

    Introductory Taiko Drum Beat...

    Welcoming and explanation by YAC Student Erica as to the origin of this performance with various students presenting studied themes: the book "Sadako", Origami cranes, Peace Poles, Taiko Drumming, Obono Ceremony and the Japanese Memorial yearly program concerning the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan.

    The day was one that provided a safe, informative and FUN setting to unite family and friends in a holistic Community Wellness/Interactive Celebration….

    Photo Narrative documentation by Judy Butzine, Director of CAC Youth Advisory Councils

    Systems Theory, Social Systems Theory, and General Systems Theory

    Systems Theory by Stichweh Rudolf

    Systems theory is a science which has the comparative study of systems as its object. There are different types of systems: organisms (animals, humans, particularly cognitive mechanisms in organisms), machines (particularly computers), physicochemical systems, psychic systems and social systems. Such a comparative research program for heterogeneous types of systems presupposes a highly general concept of systems, for which numerous features have been proposed: the interdependency of the parts of a system; the reference of any structure and process in a system to the environments of the system; equilibrium and adaptedness and continuous re-adaptations to environmental demands as core elements of the understanding of a system; self-organization of a system as the principal way it responds to external intervention; complexity as trigger mechanism for system-formation and as the form which describes the internal network structures of connectedness among system elements.