The Voice of Our Future

The Voice of Our Future

Empowering our future leaders by giving them the tools and encouragement they may need to discover and express their voice is critical to the direction of our nation. Giving youth the safe space to explore and learn about the arts is exactly what IBA's Youth Development Program is all about. With a mission to provide academic support, job readiness, arts education, leadership training, civic engagement and advocacy opportunities to youth ages 14 to 19, each cycle helps to unlock the budding leadership potential in our local community.

We sat down with current Youth Development Program participants to learn more about their experience and how being able to express themselves through art has given them a newfound sense of freedom.


"I heard about this program from my friends and they always said how much fun it was. I thought I would try it out and to be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. I've always been drawn to visual arts and this program has really helped me to realize that art is my way to have a voice. You never really think of art as being a form of self expression, but it really is and this program showed me that. I feel more powerful now and that my voice matters"


"All of my friends kept talking about this program and I figured I'd check it out to see what it was all about. I'm so happy I joined because I love it. I get to experience new things and the arts part is so amazing. I never really thought I was good at art at all. I don't really draw, but on the first day they told us that art can be in so many forms, that now I know I am an artist. The first time I had to write a poem on my own, I was nervous. But, now, I can write some really good poems. Now, I'm going to be that friend telling everyone to join this program to learn new things and meet amazing people."


"I've always been kinda shy and at first I was really scared to have to speak in front of people. But, everyone here is so encouraging and supportive that I do feel like I can speak more confidently. And, not just public speaking either. I feel like I can have a leadership role even with my friends and I can use art to also get my point across and my voice heard. I never learned any of this in school and I've made some really great friends through this program that I know I will keep for a long time."

With cycles held every season, the Youth Development Program has lots planned for the rest of the Winter Cycle and well into 2020. Throughout the program, youth participants are encouraged to make decisions, plan and develop programs and events, facilitate discussions, and create art portfolios.

To learn more about IBA's Youth Development Program and to apply to participate, click here.