- Orange County Academy Staff
This program fosters social-emotional learning for students in grades preK-12 at the Orange County Academy (OCA) in Bithlo through weekly visual art classes, field trips, community exhibitions, and summer enrichment. Bithlo is an underserved community in Orange County with an average annual income of $19,000 for a family of four.
The Orange County Academy is a private school, supported by the nonprofit United Global Outreach, that serves some of the community’s most vulnerable youth. ArtReach Orlando’s trauma-informed art curriculum, not only increases art literacy, but enables students at OCA to rebuild their sense of self-worth.
The act of producing art has a proven, powerful healing impact, particularly for youth who are unable to put words to their experiences. Supporting self-expression through a wide range of art projects helps relieve the negative impact of difficult life experiences and can free youth to dream of and have a positive future.
“I personally have experienced the positive impact ArtReach Orlando makes in the lives of our students every week! Students get to explore and discover their own creativity through a wide variety of art projects. Beyond learning technique and style, our students are listened to, cared for, encouraged, and celebrated.”
“My 4th and 5th grade students have been fortunate enough to discover the artist that lives within each of them under the guidance of ArtReach Orlando’s teaching artist."
"ArtReach’s contemplative, mindful, and inclusive approach allows each child to safely express their thoughts and emotions, dreams and imaginings. All of the students in my class are growing up with multiple ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and traumas. However, in the ArtReach classroom, they shine!”
Since 2010, United Global Outreach (UGO) has led the Bithlo Transformation Effort, a grassroots effort to undo many years of poverty and neglect in a town known as “Bithlo So Low” and the “Outcast of Orange County.”