We’re looking for mentors and mentees! If you’re a youth or adult with a disability or disabilities and want to connect through the arts, see below and be in touch! No prior arts experience necessary. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Mentors: Check out our flyer (PDF). To apply, download the mentor application (.DOC) – or the Large Print mentor application (.DOC).
Mentees: View a brief flyer (PDF) or download the Mentee application (.DOC) – or the Large Print mentee application (.DOC).
Applications can be returned by email to email@example.com.
High School and Youth Transition Programming
A girl at Colchester High School stands with her arms out, face upturned with pleasure, eyes closed, open mouthed as she performs for her classmates.
High school students considering how to engage meaningfully with their community, before and after graduation, can face an unfamiliar array of choices and new relationships. For students with disabilities, the transition from the school years to adulthood especially requires the building of self-advocacy and communication skills. VSA Vermont has two programs designed to help students develop communication skills and self-confidence through the arts and community connections.
The Classroom Program places teaching artists in schools for performing arts and mixed media residences, culminating in a final student-led community sharing event. The Mentoring Program matches high school students with disabilities to volunteer adult mentors with disabilities to develop their own artistic engagement and creative expression by working together and with local cultural venues, studios, and artists.
Successful transition plans empower students to become involved in affecting the policies that affect them, and to contribute as equals in the life of their communities. Key to this empowerment is the ability to speak up for oneself; to define one’s own goals and to take action to achieve those goals; and to tell others about one’s needs and choices. VSA Vermont’s high school programs strive to support students’ self-expression, to encourage creativity and confidence, and to foster enduring, healthy relationships with peers, mentors, and the wider community.
Vermont’s commitment to Personalized Learning Plans is a great opportunity to integrate the arts and transition planning in a student’s education! VSA Vermont can offer a variety of unconventional education options to students with and without disabilities – any youth who wants to think creatively about themselves and their future.
Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, with the help of many wonderful community arts partners, we began matching high school students with community mentors who also have disabilities to participate in the arts together. This unique program supports youth and adults in exploring and pursuing their creative interests, while providing valuable role modeling for the young person, and introducing them to local arts and cultural venues. Pairs have pursued interests as varied as pottery, costume design, plaster casting, poetry, and music – there are no limits to arts activity types, and no arts experience is required, just an interest in trying!
Mentors are volunteers, age 22+, who identify as having a disability or disabilities of any kind. We ask for a commitment of an average of one hour per week for at least one full school year. While professional artists are welcome, it’s not a requirement – all we ask is that you be interested in trying new things. VSA Vermont provides specialized training and ongoing support for all our mentors, including coverage of materials, classes, or other arts expenses. Would you like to become a mentor? Download the application (.doc), or the large print application version (.doc)!
Right now, the mentoring program serves Chittenden and Washington counties. If you think your area would benefit from this style of mentoring, please contact Toby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mentoring Program full movie linked above has an accompanying verbal description, covering visual highlights and on-screen text. Download the “Full Movie” verbal description (.DOCX)
Meet a Match
Meet Sasha and Noah, a mentoring pair from our pilot year!
You can download a supplemental document that is designed to provide highlights of the visual part of the video as well as text of the captioning correlated with the names, titles and organizations of the speakers. It is in large print format. Verbal Description for “Meet a Match” (.DOCX)
Meet a Mentor
Nicole is a mentor from our pilot year and a founding member of our advisory committee.
You can download a supplemental document that is designed to provide highlights of the visual part of the video as well as text of the captioning correlated with the names, titles and organizations of the speakers. It is in large print format. Verbal Description for “Meet a Mentor” (.DOCX)
“All of the kids performing were so proud of themselves and full of self-confidence. My son has been able to carry his self-advocacy into his life and I know that the program has helped him tremendously.”
Parent of Program Participant
VSA Vermont (VSA VT) presents performing arts and mixed media residencies at public and private high schools and for organizations serving people engaged in self-advocacy. VSA VT’s advocacy arts program employs dynamic learning creating performances derived from participants’ own experiences. Communication, civic engagement, preparation for employment, and participation in cultural venues, among other self-advocacy topics, are addressed through an arts-based process.
Residency schedules can be adjusted to the needs of partnering organizations. For more information about bringing advocacy arts to your school or organization, contact us. For more information about the classroom program and its mentoring expansion, download the VSA VT High School Program overview (PDF).
“All of the participants have gained confidence, expanded their interests, and developed leadership skills. I will venture to say that some of the lessons they learned have been far more important to their success as adults than any academic subject.”
Ann Carol Moffett, Special Educator
VSA Vermont arts education for young people is offered at no cost to program participants (students, mentees, mentors, or families). Mentoring is a volunteer position, with all supply and other arts expenses reimbursed.
Organizations wishing to bring VSA Vermont classes to people receiving their services pay a fee to VSA Vermont to present the program at their site. For more information on fee structures, contact us.
Find Funds for VSA Vermont Education Programs
Learn more about how schools and other organizations can find funds for VSA Vermont education programs.
The Kennedy Center VSA logo. With text: “This program is provided under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts 2016.”
Over the past two years, our H.S. Arts Education programs has been supported by: