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SAY Sí Executive Director on Helping Students Find their Voice

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Aug 28, 2017

Art&Seek, an arts new source for North Texas, recently spoke with Jon Hinojosa, executive director of SAY Sí (San Antonio, TX) and Guild trustee, about what it means to help students find their voice. The interview points out some of the successful strategies at SAY Sí and highlights how encouraging youth voice involves trust in your students and a willingness to truly hear their stories.

Speaking about an annual project at SAY Sí, Hinojosa notes that he is “really proud of the work we do with “Stories Seldom Told.” The student body votes [on the theme of the project]. [This summer] they chose to look at the issues of inequity in our public school system in San Antonio. When you first walk in, they carved a map of San Antonio into drywall and then they embedded color pencils that represented minorities that dropped out in the various school districts in the city, and then a video projector was playing what the percentage of what the graduation rates were and also the drop out rate. You could see visually the sort of issues that our students have to deal with, especially students of color in our city.”

By allowing students to independently and creatively tackle these issues, Hinojosa suggests that they are better equipped to navigate their futures and become leaders in their community. “In the last 14 years, 100 percent of our students have graduated from high school and been accepted into colleges and universities. We have the evidence that can show that when you put some thought and effort into letting youth voice rise, there’s actually measured successes you can have to change them, and to change us as a community,” he says.

Read the full article here.

About SAY Sí

Serving San Antonio’s youth, SAY Sí is a year round, long-term, non-profit multidisciplinary arts program that provides students opportunities to develop artistic and social skills in preparation for higher educational advancement and professional careers.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.