Just BGRAPHIC (JBG) is a unique hybrid organization that is built on the principals of arts, education and equality. We are a not-for-profit organization located in the Jane and Finch community. We believe that structured non-hobbyist arts programming paired with academic partnerships support the educational trajectory of youth and help to develop their resilience. Our slogan, “Be You. BGRAPHIC” echoes the voices of aspiring artist on a quest to live authentically into their creative destiny. Just BGRAPHIC is a creative space where stigmas surrounding race, gender or sexual orientation are replaced with unity through artistic expression among vocalists, dancers, lyricists and digital media enthusiasts.
Our mission and mandate fuels the commitment of our team to build safe and accessible programs for youth to explore the nooks of their creative identity; and it gives license to our trained facilitators to turn the taste of raw talent into an ambitious appetite for young artist. Our social conscience is rooted in the belief that youth exposed to opportunity and supported with the right resources can develop the resilience and confidence they need to make their dreams come true.
Just BGRAPHIC is committed to making change in our communities by running arts based programs during school, after-school and “at-risk” hours in evenings and weekends. We provide a space for youth to foster confidence and improve their self-esteem, develop skills-based learning for the 21st century, and offer volunteer/employment opportunities for youth. Through our programming and professional opportunities our youth will develop their artistic talent and skills of their chosen art field, develop leadership skills, possess strong work ethic and be armed with a professional portfolio that will provide them with a competitive edge.
At Just BGRAPHIC (JBG), we believe program evaluation is an integral part of this process. We want to know how we are doing, and believe that the most important target audience of evaluation findings is ourselves. At JBG, we also want to be able to share how we are doing with our key partners and stakeholders, such as the: Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Toronto Public Library, the City of Toronto, school principals, the Jane and Finch community, family, friends, funders, contractors and other community arts-based organizations. It is important that knowledge is shared so that youth can continue to benefit from barrier-free programs that they feel are important to their lives.
Just BGRAPHIC program outcomes are signifiers of the changes and improvements we seek to make for the youth who live in the Jane and Finch community. The goals of JBG are such that whether programs are delivered in the school or in community spaces, the intended outcomes still remain the same. Just BGRAPHIC’s desired outcomes are formed by mindful social, economic and educational observations of staff who have worked with youth from the community. These youth are suffering from continued stigmatization based on where they live, their skin colour, gender, and sexual orientation. JBG aims to provide equitable opportunities for all youth to engage in artistic expression to support their creative identity.
The intended outcomes of our programs are psycho-educational and are correlated to the organizational goals set out in our mandate. Program outcomes are:
The youth who participate in our programs come into frequent contact with a myriad of people who are instrumental in creating and delivering our programs. Through our programs our youth will meet; teachers, professional artists, entertainment industry professionals, program staff and program volunteers. It is important to observe, capture and report on a range of change indicators from the experiences and perspectives of the youth participants, staff and volunteers.
Therefore, our evaluation strategy will consist of the following data collection techniques:
Each reporting technique listed above will be adaptations of the conceptual frameworks and/or evaluation strategies of the Resiliency Scale (Wagnild, 2010) and 21st Century Learning Skills (P21, 2002) and will encompass measurable indicators of participant observation of youth by staff, semi-structured interviews and questionnaires. For our programs a pre and post program reporting includes a youth self-report baseline intake and will culminate in a final self-report survey that asks youth to report on the changes they have seen in themselves – resilience, educational and artistic knowledge gains – as a result of their participation in our programs.
All staff members who teach or facilitate any of our programs will self-report and self-reflect on the program and the youth who participated. A questionnaire will ask what staff observed during the activities and life-cycle of the program. Lastly, youth will select a person who they choose as a ‘caring adult’ who will also self-report and reflect on the changes they have observed of the youth through a questionnaire. This triangulation of data will identify if our programs are being delivered the way we said they were going to be and if our program achieved our desired outcomes.