COMPASS’ YOUTH MENTOR PROGRAM EMBRACES THE ARTS Katherine Murphy, Center Programming Coordinator The Compass Mentor Program launched a new year of programming in October and will continue an Arts and Culture focus—providing teens with the opportunity to experience local shows and exhibits. We maintain a partnership with the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the PEAK Program, and will attend four of their fantastic shows this season. We have a special relationship with Palm Beach Opera for Rehearsal 101 and Opera OUT Loud. Launched in March 2015, Opera OUT Loud explores operatic works that highlight LGBTQ themes and issues, and celebrates contributions to opera made by LGBTQ individuals and affirming companies. Opera Out Loud came to fruition after Compass’ Mentor Program attended a field trip to Palm Beach Opera’s Rehearsal 101. During a discussion with Dr. Jourdan Laine Howell, Education and Community Engagement Manager for Palm Beach Opera, one of the youth noted that the piece was heteronormative and, thus, hard to relate to. This comment inspired Dr. Howell to launch a pilot project with Compass’ Youth Mentor Program - a project which has gained national recognition. Opera OUT Loud was featured in the most recent edition of Opera America Magazine. Dr. Jourdan Laine Howell, had this to say: “You connect people to opera by finding stories that are accessible, relatable, and personal...and you keep them engaged by giving them a sense of ownership over their own experience.”
Compass Youth, Photo courtesy of Opera Out Loud
When the group read “As One” by Kimberly Reed and Mark Campbell they were touched by a particular aria, “Out of Nowhere” as it explores personal and global violence against transgender individuals. Through Dr. Howell the youth were able to connect with Ms. Reed and received a personal letter from her: “Mark and I would be honored to know that studying a piece we created played even a small part in each of you reaching your ideal. Thank you for paying such close attention to our work” The aim of the Compass Mentor Program is to embolden our youth, to help develop their sense of belonging, promote pride, and show them the many opportunities that await them in college and the professional world. In addition to our arts and culture programming, tutors mentor teens after school at the Compass Youth Drop-In Center. Compass Youth, Photo courtesy of Opera Out Loud
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We are currently accepting applications for local professionals to become mentors. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.