Success Through The Arts Foundation was founded in 2000 after a fire destroyed all of the performing arts materials and instruments at Washington Preparatory High School in South Los Angeles. After hearing about this devastating loss, artists and community leaders banded together to purchase equipment so the students would, once again, have access to this vital part of their education. Out of those ashes came our organization.
Our Mission: To utilize performing arts programs as a means of enhancing self-esteem, academic achievement, self-discipline and social responsibility for K-12 students in South Los Angeles.
South Los Angeles (formerly known as South Central) is well known as one of the most impoverished and under-educated communities in the country. 30% of South LA residents live in poverty, twice the rate of Los Angeles County. 43% of South LA residents lack a high school diploma and the graduation rate for schools in South LA is below 40%. This low educational attainment leads to lower job skills and fewer employment opportunities creating a cycle of persistent poverty, which then gives way to a culture of drugs, gangs, and violence now endemic to South LA.
We believe that an arts education can ignite a passion within each student for the arts as a whole, and, more importantly, it can serve as a tool to foster those things at the heart of our mission statement: self-esteem and academic achievement. The positive outcomes inherent in an arts education are critical to the at-risk youth of South LA, as they serve to level the educational playing field and close institutional and achievement gaps. At a time when LA Unified has been forced to eliminate most arts programs, and summer school in its entirety, our programs are more vital than ever. They offer viable, safe, constructive alternatives for extra-circular activities during non-school hours, with compelling results. We believe our numbers speak for themselves, but nothing tells our story as well as the smiles on our students’ faces, as they complete a difficult dance routine or receive a hoped-for college acceptance letter.
Our Recent Successes
- In the spring of 2011, 100% of the seniors in our after-school program graduated and were accepted to four-year colleges. Many of these seniors were former mentors and teachers for the younger students in South LA through our Saturday and summer programs.
- This fall, our alumni will be gracing the halls of Dartmouth, Berklee School of Music, Stanford, UCLA and other UCs, USC, and a host of other notable four year colleges and universities.
- Over 20 of our former students, after earning undergraduate and masters degrees in education, have returned to “give back” and teach future generations in and around South LA. Together we are breaking the cycle of underachievement!