BRAZOS VALLEY, Texas — The Art Reaching Teens Youth Program gives individuals that are at risk the chance to give back while also learning some life lessons.
One participant shared what he has learned throughout the process of being in the program.
The Brazos County Justice System has asked for this young man's identity to remain anonymous for his safety. He said the program gave him and others in it the chance to transform. He also said it made him realize his value.
“It proved to me that I could do something other than get in trouble and I can create something and not destroy stuff. I can create stuff, I can be nice, I can be in a situation where I am not in trouble, but I am still doing something fun," he said.
He said when you are in trouble you feel like you are alone and nobody is there for you.
However, he said the program shows individuals that someone always has their back. He advises those in similar situations to have a positive attitude and said everyone becomes like a second family.
“There’s a lot of fun people and the teachers and the probation officers, they’re all there to have a good time, so if you just go in there with a smile, it makes the whole day better," he said.
He said he loved getting to create such a beautiful piece of art.
He said by working together and putting equal amounts of effort into one big project everyone in the program had the opportunity to learn art techniques while also gaining valuable insights about life.
Cornelious Gray, the A.R.T. For Life Mentor, said the program helps them to align art with practical experiences in other ways.
“If you do make a mistake, you know, hey, paint over it and it reassures them that if you make a mistake in life, you can try again and adjust accordingly”, Gray said.
Gray said by exposing kids that are struggling with these types of youth programs, it can sometimes help resolve issues.
He hopes this program will give individuals a way to focus their energy on things that are proactive.
“It opens up doors for our kids to know, hey, maybe I can have a career in painting, maybe I can have a career in writing ... giving them that outlet to also express what they’re going through, putting it on paper, in a drawing, a picture, a painting," he said.
That particular student and others in the program worked on this piece and you can find even more throughout the Brazos Valley.
He wants the community to know he and others in the program were able to open up and be vulnerable in a safe space.
Another part of the youth program involves writing poems about their experiences.
He has decided to share his poem with KRHD, you can listen to it below.