Inclusive arts program inspires personal development

An inclusive arts program called Affinity Arts has resulted in significant positive growth and development for a group of six young participants in the Mt Barker region in late 2020.

The program, a collaboration between the YMCA and Ink Pot Arts, was developed to bring out the best in young people via creativity and its power to unlock potential.

Affinity Arts revolved around role-playing, acting and drama sessions. These sessions provided young participants of all abilities with the opportunity to express a range of emotions while developing self-confidence and improving their verbal and literacy skills.

YMCA Community Strengthening Manager, Marion Modra, said the young participants ranged in age from 12 to 18 years and included participants living with disability.

Inclusion is not about special, segregated activity but about creating a place where everyone gets to be the best version of themselves. Everyone deserves to reach their potential and Affinity’s success was based on that.

– Marion Modra

Screen Shot 2021 01 18 at 3 45 18 pm

Affinity participant, Grace Lehman (pictured right with volunteer tutor Ren Williams), said her experience with the program was enjoyable and very rewarding. Grace is now performing in a production of Secret Garden through Ink Pot Arts.

“I enjoyed meeting new people, making new friends and getting better at acting. It means that I’m doing my best and I’m proud of myself because of that,” she said.

“I learned how to project my voice, how to be the character and how to actually relate to them. Also how to position myself on stage and that I love drama and acting. The group did well and I wanted to be a part of that group - a group that is trying its best to be successful.”

Grace’s parents added that the program offered her a safe space to express herself while learning about emotions and socialisation, which has led to significant personal development.