A letter from ARTS Board of Directors

August 18, 2017

Dear friends and ARTS supporters,

I’m writing to share with you some changes in ARTS’ immediate day-to-day operations. As you may have heard, ARTS recently adjusted staff levels. Rather than go forward with the original plan to significantly increase classes and students in the fall semester, our plan is to serve approximately the same number of youth we had during the spring semester.

ARTS’ new CEO Marty Remmell, who started on June 1, has shown tremendous resolve and dedication to ensuring ARTS’ mission will continue well into the future. I have great trust in her ability to elevate the organization’s scale and sustainability, and I ask that you join me in this sentiment. We are doing everything in our power to strengthen this great organization.

The Board of Directors wants a solid infrastructure that honors the organization’s mission and vision, and maximize ARTS’ budget. The steps we have taken were necessary to set us on a path towards this goal. Our ultimate desire is to continue ARTS’ mission of supporting youth in National City and San Diego County through the arts and creativity. We believe these changes will make that possible.

The next several months at ARTS will be used to recalibrate, expand and develop ARTS’ board, continue fundraising, and create a strategic plan with specific goals for student success. One of the first recommendations from Marty was to create a student advisory council comprised of current students and alumni who will consult on programming. Our aim is to create a more intentional integration between arts education, creative community development, and student support services (including life skills, leadership development, and career planning) so all students can realize their full potential through the arts and creativity.

ARTS students and families will be able to continue receiving student services support as well as participate in visual art, photography, writing, music, and maker classes. Please contact Laura Aparicio, Student Services Manager, at (619) 297-2787 ext. 2006 or laparicio@areasontosurvive.org for more information.

We plan to unveil the new strategic plan on October 21 at our Spooky Sweet 16 event, where we’ll toast to 16 years, honor ARTS Founder Matt D’Arrigo, and set our sights on a successful future.

If you have any questions, I invite you to contact me directly at fabiennehanks@gmail.com. Thank you for your understanding during this time, and for your continued support of ARTS.


Fabienne Hanks
Chair, A Reason To Survive Board of Directors

The ARTS Faire

The ARTS Faire opened its doors over 300 people on Saturday, June 8th 2016. This biannual showcase highlighted the artwork and performances ARTS students have been working on since January. It was a vibrant reflection of their prolonged dedication.
This successful Faire was a product of constant involvement throughout the process by our students, from basic assembly of the event to editing and selecting which artwork to display. At every stage of production, our students showed up with enthusiasm and creativity. The results were truly awesome!
The ARTS Faire was an excellent representation of our students’ dedication to their craft. The sense of ownership they take in making this event one of a kind is obvious upon walking into each space. Unique culminating events such as the ARTS Faire are made possible by the dedicated volunteers who are constantly available to assist us.
Visit our YouTube page to see a performance from the event: https://youtu.be/wfJCErhFbQU 

Paradise Creek Educational Gathering Place

ARTS, in collaboration with community members and the City of National City, created an educational gateway overlooking Paradise Creek, at the Southeast entrance of Kimball Park. Earlier this April, the community came together to help come up with a design for the project.

We had nearly 30 community members contribute their ideas! For 3 days after that, a team of local designers and artists worked all day to develop a design for the project, based on those ideas.The final design and build took 4 days to complete, with over 100 participating volunteers from the community.

Volunteers participated in following Art Projects: Painting an artistic representation of the stormwater and tidal flow on the concrete walkway; Building Up-cycled benches from recycled concrete materials; Creating artistic signage teaching visitors about storm water; Planting native and drought tolerant plants; Installing artistic Sculptural Elements; Landscaping: creating seating nooks and overlooks by artistically placing rocks, boulders and mulch. It was a blast and we look forward to the next one!

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ARTS is Recruiting: Paid Apprentices

Announcing PAID Apprenticeship Opportunities. Applications due by Monday March 28th. Selected participants must attend Orientation on Thursday 3/31 from 4pm-6pm. Apprenticeship pay $10/hr, average 8-10 hrs/wk for April 1 – July 1 (3 months).

Apprenticeships are by discipline:
3D Art & Design
Mixed Media
Landscape Architecture

Email Melinda Cooper at: mcooper@areasontosurvive.org for Job Descriptions and Applications details. Please include your contact information and discipline of interest.

ARTS is Recruiting: AmeriCorp Vista – Marketing Coordinator

Marketing Coordination: Increase A Reason to Survive (ARTS) presence and effectiveness through marketing and communication.

  1. Manage website updates
  2. Manage the ARTS Social Media outreach plan
  3. Manage creation and submission of e-newsletters
  4. Create and update new marketing and press releases under the supervision of the Director of Operations
  5. Assist Development Department with special appeals, annual report and cultivation/donor events


Program Benefits : Childcare assistance if eligible ,  Health Coverage* ,  Living Allowance ,  Training ,  Relocation Allowance ,  Choice of Education Award or End of Service Stipend .
*For details about AmeriCorps VISTA healthcare benefits, please visit: http://www.vistacampus.gov/healthcare

ARTS is Recruiting: AmeriCorp Vista – Volunteer Coordinator


Volunteer Coordination: Recruit, place, retain and support all ARTS volunteers.

  1. Develop and implement an annual outreach plan to recruit new volunteers in line with organizational objectives.
  2. Interview, on-board and train all ARTS volunteers
  3. Integrate ARTS new program software, Salesforce, into all volunteer recruitment, training, placement and management practices
  4. On-going maintenance and implementation of previously established volunteer policies and procedures
  5. Deepen the volunteer experience
  6. Assist with the development of infrastructure for a corporate volunteer program, donor service days, and the annual National City service day
  7. Provide on-going professional development for volunteer assistant teaching artists and formalized pathways for volunteers to become paid teaching artists


Program Benefits : Childcare assistance if eligible ,  Health Coverage* ,  Living Allowance ,  Training ,  Choice of Education Award or End of Service Stipend ,  Relocation Allowance.
*For details about AmeriCorps VISTA healthcare benefits, please visit: http://www.vistacampus.gov/healthcare

ARTS Is Hiring: Grants Manager

Grants Manager

The Grants Manager is an experienced, energetic and talented professional who contributes to ARTS in a variety of ways within the Development Department.  The Grants Manager will research and write public and private grant proposals and reports, take a leadership role in integrating grants into strategic fundraising goals, oversee grant & report submission schedules and manage the grants database. The Grants Manager will also provide ancillary support to community relations and beneficiary partner communications. Additionally this positions will provide grant prospect research, writing and reporting for a partner who contracts our grant management support service.  This person must have working knowledge of Creative Youth Development and youth arts programs.  Additionally this individual must work well in a strong team culture that values a commitment to excellence. Read more

Power of PEOPLE Drives Student Success

Empowering Students to See a Possible Future & the Tools to Obtain It! 

A Reason to Survive (ARTS) is committed to mentoring the creative and personal development of our students. We provide one-on-one mentorships, portfolio development, counseling, as well as internships and paid apprenticeships through ARTS Enterprises ©. We truly believe that creativity is an asset all youth should have entering this creative economy. We are dedicated to building the creative capital of our youth through this program to prepare them for a brighter future.

Meet Moises:

Moises first joined ARTS as a student in the Inspire program. Overtime Moises has found multiple mediums for creative expressions including; writing, poetry, multi-media, performing arts, and photography.

Creative and Career Manager, Melinda Cooper found that Moises was a very enthusiastic learner and would be a great candidate for the Empower program. Her mentoring has lead Moises to a paid apprenticeship,which will include a leadership position within the Media Arts Department.

We are honored that Moises shared this poem with us:

Lost in the Urbane
They say loneliness is the worst thing you could ever experience.
In some aspects that might be true.
I feel the beauty of everything comes out more often than not –
to experience something that is there without the interference of others:
the trees, the breeze, the urban landscape that is lost in all that lasts.
You can find yourself lost more often than not if you let yourself in.
– Moises

Double Your Impact with our Matching Gift Opportunity

Self expression, trusting relationships, and a safe place to belong give our students hope.

Meet Rosie:

Two years ago we moved here, but we didn’t have a place to live. I had no friends, no T.V., no phone, and I used to walk around and hang out in public spaces trying to meet people… one day I walked past this place, and saw art through the windows. I have bad anxiety, and it took me six months to apply.”

“Art saved my life, and it helped me discover who I am. Before I was here, I didn’t know who I was — I didn’t know what I was doing. When I came back to art, it helped my find myself. It is what I’m made of.”
Rosie is participating in a program in partnership with the San Diego Symphony painting piano’s that will be put in public places during the month of January. We hope you have a chance to see Rosie’s piano as well as the other beautiful pieces.


We’re thrilled to announce a year-end $35,000 matching gift opportunity. We’re grateful for two of our dedicated supports who have generously offered to match all gifts up to $35,000 now through December 31st.

Double your impact this holiday season  turn your $10 into $20, $100 into $200, $1,000 into $2,000!

Please consider making a tax-deductible year-end donation today, so we can continue to provide healing, inspiring and empowering arts programs.

Thank you for your continued support.


Happy Thanksgiving from ARTS

A Note of Gratitude

We are thankful for all of the members of the ARTS family!Our Students – who inspire us every day with their creativity, resilience, and tenacity
Our Staff – for their passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to the students
Our Volunteers – who give so selflessly of their time to bring smiles and joy to our students
Our Donors – who generously contribute to help us achieve our mission and vision
Our Partners – who collaborate to deepen the impact and experiences for our students in a variety of waysAt ARTS we have an attitude of gratitude for all the members of the ARTS family. It’s the PEOPLE that make the magic happen at ARTS – all of us play an integral role in making the “ARTS Experience” so impactful on the students we serve. Thank you for the role you play in transforming the lives of youth through the arts and creativity!

ARTS Center Campus
Saturday December 12th
Come celebrate with us and enjoy:
~ Public art unveiling
~ ARTS Marketplace with one of a kind holiday gifts
~ Free art workshops
~ Delicious food from Guerrero food truck
~ Performances by Art of Elan, ARTS Ensemble, ARTS Rock Band and trancenDANCE

Please consider making a tax-deductible year-end donation today, so we can continue to provide healing, inspiring and empowering arts programs.

Thank you for your gracious support.

Happy Thanksgiving from your ARTS family!