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Design Thinking with the AmeriCorps Turnaround Teaching Artist Project

The AmeriCorps team at Providence CityArts for Youth focuses on closing the gap of academic achievement in middle school students in Providence, Rhode Island. The Turnaround Teaching Artist Project serves more than 600 youth through school day and after­-school. Eleven AmeriCorps members are stationed at three Priority middle schools throughout the city; with an additional 18 members serving at the CityArts Broad Street Arts Center through Summer STEAM Camp. Team members are trained to combine art and STEM subjects (STEAM) through project based instruction to develop new habits of engagement in learning with Providence youth.  

To promote work readiness for our AmeriCorps team, Providence CityArts for Youth works closely with higher education institutions, such as the Rhode Island School of Design, to provide high quality professional development for our AmeriCorps volunteers. Amy Leidtke, a RISD professor in the Industrial Design department, and CityArts board member, has led multiple training sessions with the CityArts team. These sessions focus on how the members can combine design skills with math and science elements to create challenging and interactive lessons for the youth in our programs.

RISD Industrial Design professor, Amy Leitke, working with AmeriCorps members


AmeriCorps training creates networking opportunities for CityArts AmeriCorps members to use both during their service and beyond. Not only do these workshops help to develop skills for their year of service, but they promote new education practices that will impact their future teaching experiences. Providence CityArts for Youth prides itself in recruiting diverse artists for our program, who we connect to the broader Providence community through their involvement in our education based AmeriCorps program.  Over the past thirteen years, CityArts has hosted AmeriCorps members serving at our Broad Street Arts Center and at various schools throughout Providence.