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Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA) is an interfaith “green” art jobs and job training program located in Berkeley, California which is committed to empowering homeless and low-income San Francisco Bay Area young people, ages 16-25.
YSA was founded in 2007, as a response to the enormous employment challenges of older homeless and low-income youth, by one of the initiators of the Alameda County Homeless Youth Collaborative, who had observed first hand at the Telegraph Avenue Homeless Youth Drop-In Center the unmet needs of transition age youth for jobs and jobs training programs.
The mission of Youth Spirit Artworks is to use art jobs and jobs training to empower and transform the lives of youth, giving young people the skills, experience, and self-confidence needed to meet their full potential. YSA is modeled after the renowned New Orleans based-youth organization, Young Aspirations, Young Artists (YaYa) which has involved 1000’s of young people in commercial arts jobs and job training for more than twenty years.
Youth Spirit’s broad goals are to:
Youth Spirit currently carries out its work through two paid jobs training program areas, Commercial Arts Entrepreneurship, involving youth in creating art to sell and make a share of the proceeds from the sale of their art; and Community Art, engaging young people in neighborhood revitalization through creation of murals, tile projects and other public art.