IDEAS: Interactive Drama for Education and Awareness in the Schools
Interactive Drama for Education and Awareness in the Schools (I.D.E.A.S.) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to provide direct interactive drama activities for young people with disabilities and other disadvantages, using drama as a teaching and learning tool for personal and social growth as well as equal educational access to the arts.
I.D.E.A.S. aims to serve those with physical, sensory or cognitive disabilities as well as other disadvantages, be they social, economic, or geographic. We fulfill our mission through in-school, after-school and out-of-school residencies with youth ages 5-21. I.D.E.A.S. programs are offered as part of a well-rounded education that focuses on the individual, and take place at partner sites such as schools, libraries, community centers, group homes, and more.
We have worked with youth who are on the autism spectrum, deaf, blind, have attention deficits, a host of learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, multiple disabilities, cognitive delays, physical disabilities, and those with emotional and behavior difficulties. The disadvantaged youth we serve include those in temporary housing or low income housing, formerly homeless, youth who have been witness to domestic violence, direct or indirect substance abuse, youth who live in group homes for a variety of reasons, youth in families below the poverty line and youth with immediate family members in prison. All activities emphasize respect and cooperation and are a catalyst for personal growth, development and learning. I.D.E.A.S. aims to provide an avenue for interaction in a congenial atmosphere, where students can exercise their creativity, self-expression, and risk-taking skills in a safe space while learning about themselves and others. Participants in I.D.E.A.S.’ programs have the opportunity to creatively experience a variety of situations through the theater technique of improvisation, as well as adaptations of scripts and stories. We envision drama to be a true learning experience of the self as well of theater acting techniques, use of props and costumes to enhance character and story, and replacing pressure to perform with joy of performing or participating as a crew member, creating a true ensemble.
Through our drama programs, I.D.E.A.S. Teaching Artists not only introduce these youth to drama and theater but also use drama as an introduction to a more productive way of expressing themselves, a different way of being, behaving and learning.
We also have individual workshops for parents, staff and other adults that work with these youth.