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Community Needs Assessment
The Kennedy Dancers, Inc. Inner City Youth
Parents/Guardians and students are assessed as they begin the program through The Kennedy Dancers, Inc., as well as the CDBG intake forms. They are surveyed regularly by staff to see if there is a change financially, physically, or emotionally. Surveys include questions about finances, school attendance, and physical and emotional needs. Every six months, parents/guardians and students are given a proficiency report monitoring the student’s artistic, emotional, and physical improvement, or lack thereof.
Through intake forms, one hundred percent of the students in the Inner City Youth (ICY) program are identified as low to moderate income by HUD standards and are at-risk for criminal activity, substance abuse, gang related activity, teen pregnancy, and domestic abuse. The program provides these vulnerable children with a place to go after school, a community of which they can feel they belong, and a focus for their creative energy and talent. This program is a clear indication of how the organization has adhered to its mission to offer arts training in response to the needs of the community. This program provides elite skills in dance, as well as music and theater – most of which is non-existent in public schools. Currently, only two schools offer dance in Jersey City.
The Kennedy Dancers, Inc. ICY also provides assistance to its young members with conflict resolution and social development skills. Students who express interest in a career in the performing arts meet with The Kennedy Dancers, Inc. ICY faculty members who can assist with identifying suitable college applications and increasing confidence and self-esteem, and building socialization skills needed to work with others.
Unfortunately, there is little training in the performing arts in public schools, especially in dance, so The Kennedy Dancers, Inc. ICY program is filling a great need in Jersey City. Since its inception, over 500 children have participated in The Kennedy Dancers, Inc. ICY program. Many children have moved on to find a position within the workforce or in higher education as a result of responsibilities and skills acquired in The Kennedy Dancers, Inc. ICY program.