A program like this works for all kids, but it’s especially powerful for troubled youngsters who have not learned the skills to adapt socially. Among other things, it gives them perspective and a sense of self-worth.
Janis teaches art to at-risk and troubled kids primarily from dysfunctional or broken families. In fact, over 90 percent of her high school students have spent time in jail or in the juvenile justice system. The kids get sent to The Young Men's Academy at MacArthur South, where part of the curriculum involves Service Learning. After they have learned skills in ceramics or pottery making, they go to nursing homes, schools for the severely handicapped, homeless shelters, and the like and help teach these people the skills they recently learned themselves. For the first time in the lives of many of these youngsters, they matter. Janis now spends a great deal of her time speaking at conferences across Florida and throughout the country.