How can I share my gifts with others? This was the question that 40 motivated high school students from around New York City explored together during Sing for Hopes free, week-long Youth Arts Intensive, offered from August 4th through 8th at our new Soho satellite campus, GLASGOW CALEDONIAN UNIVERSITY NEW YORK. Participating teens were able to express themselves in a diverse array of art forms — from acting to songwriting, choreography to visual art — all under the mentorship of 28 consummate professionals from the Sing for Hope Volunteer Artist Roster.

The week of interactive workshops, led by Director of Youth Arts Stephanie Martinez, was immersive, joyful, challenging, and for some, life-changing. ,By participating in this program, I gained much more confidence in myself and made new friends too, declared Maricarmen, sixteen and from the Bronx. ,In my school, we dont have a lot of arts programs. So learning more about singing, songwriting, and acting was an awesome new opportunity for me. The lessons I will take from this Intensive are to not be afraid of who I am, never give up, and always try my best.

Volunteer Artist Laura Ricciardi leads a visual art workshop at Sing for Hope’s Summer Youth Arts Intensive. (Photo Credit: Shawn Hoke)
A closing celebration for friends and family showcased a hilarious improv scene, a spirited dance number choreographed partly by students, and a 6-part a cappella song. The young performers also had the chance to share some of the personal insights they wrote about during each dayas journaling exercise: some reflected on their increased self-esteem; others made a commitment to pursue their passions as they enter adulthood.

Monique McDonald, longtime Volunteer Artist, coaches a young participant. (Photo Credit: Shawn Hoke)
Sing for Hope administered a survey at the completion of the program and found that:

  • 100% of participants believed they grew as an artist during the Intensive
  • 96.55% felt more confident after the week of workshops
  • 96.55% had tried something new during the program
  • 96.55% believed they gained skills that they can apply in everyday life
  • 93.1% felt inspired to continue exploring the arts

We sincerely thank our Volunteer Artists — RANDALL BENICHAKALYSON CAMBRIDGECHERUB IMPROVJamie EhrenfeldMichael GilbertRoderick LapidMONIQUE MCDONALDLLOYD MILLERDJORDJE NESIC, the NYU MIXTAPESABBY POWELLLaura RicciardiValerie Salgado, and BLAKE WHYTE — for donating their time and talents to create this transformative experience.

(All photos by Shawn Hoke.)

Sing for Hope’s mission is to transform and uplift individuals and communities by mobilizing artists in volunteer service programs, bringing the power of the arts to those who need it most. Click HERE to learn more about Sing for Hope’s other youth programs. For more information about participating in an upcoming Arts Intensive, contact Director of Youth Arts Stephanie Martinez at s.martinez[at]

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While the Sing for Hope Pianos were still adorning our city’s streets and parks, our Youth Arts team was hard at work prepping for another summer mainstay here at Sing for Hope: the Arts Intensive. This year, we brought together over 30 creative professionals from our Volunteer Artist roster with high schoolers from across NYC for two memorable weeks of arts study. With workshops ranging from Samba dancing to ballet, songwriting to a cappella singing, and a host of other artistic pursuits, the Sing for Hope Youth Arts Intensive is free of charge, and encourages participation from students who may not otherwise have access to quality arts education. By pairing our Volunteer Artists with dedicated students, the program creates a rigorous, diverse, and supportive environment for exploring the arts.