Creative Youth Development (CYD) organizations bring together the arts, sciences, and humanities with youth development principles to build critical life skills in young people.

The goal is to change the trajectory of student lives.

TranscenDANCE helps embed within them life-changing skills such as resilience, confidence, collaboration, creativity and leadership to help underserved youth break through self-limiting constraints and social barriers, while promoting positive risk-taking and community involvement.

[Tweet “How #CreativeYouthDevelopment organizations change the trajectory of student lives”]

Although organizations that promote CYD values have been around for years, the movement has gained national momentum through the creation of the Creative Youth Development National Partnership in 2015 by The National Guild for Community Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and Americans for the Arts. The strength and commitment of these four organizations are advancing CYD practice nationwide – and San Diego is a hotbed for such programs.

In 2015, The San Diego Foundation and The Wallace Foundation co-hosted San Diego’s first Creative Youth Development Summit for 135 members of the county’s leading CYD organizations.

transcenDANCE, in particular, uses a unique CYD curriculum that involves self-reflection and the examination of local and global social issues, mixed with intensive movement and technical dance training, to teach students not only how to master dance and performance, but how to assess their reality, build supportive peer and adult relationships, and express themselves through the arts.

Each year for the past 11 years, I have witnessed through our program the effectiveness of CYD practices.

The safe space transcenDANCE provides our students, the depth of our curriculum, the peer support, alumni mentoring, and adult encouragement all work together to combat drop-out rates, crime, incidences of abuse and addiction.

Through the PEAR assessment program developed by Harvard, we have documented results of increased social-emotional resiliency in areas such as emotional control, assertiveness, trust, reflection and optimism. In addition, we have seen the positive and creative impact of our students’ growth and self-expression on others, including audiences at this year’s United We Move performance at the Lyceum Theatre and throngs of strangers when they perform at the San Diego Airport as the Performing Artist in Residence.

To further explain the power of CYD and the process used by transcenDANCE, we are inviting community leaders and philanthropists with The San Diego Foundation to a cross-sector collaboration at the San Diego International Airport on October 18.

We will talk about the principles of CYD, why they work, and the results transcenDANCE has achieved by mirroring them for over a decade. In addition, alumni will share inspirational stories of the positive impacts of CYD.


About Cat Corral

Cat CorralCat Corral co-founded transcenDANCE in 2005 with a vision to combine dance theatre and performance with community building, youth leadership, and social change in San Diego. She received her BA from UC Santa Barbara and is certified in Expressive Arts Therapy. Corral has worked in social service and as a dance educator and teaching artist mentor with San Diego Schools for over a decade. She draws inspiration from the Esalen Institute, the Creative Dance Center, Urban Bush Women Institute, Projeto Axe, Centro De Referencia Integral De Adolescentes, and the Tamalpa Institute. As transcenDANCE grows and evolves, Corral is focused on sharing best practices in the Creative Youth Development arena.