Though it can be exhausting to continuously have to make a case for arts education, the numbers and studies exist. The arts help youth cope with painful experiences, trauma, victimization, and exposure to violence by fostering resiliency (Development Services Group, 2016). Kids across the state of Mississippi involved in the CORE Arts initiative showed an improvement in school attendance, reduction in behavior problems, improved grades, and improved standardized test scores (Center for the Study of Art, 2007). The University of Western Australia found that participating in the arts for just two hours a week can improve mental health and well-being (Davies, 2016). A study of kids in the Bronx that attend the Celia Cruz High School of Music revealed that all parents and students interviewed indicated that the students had post-high school plans, and a majority stated they were planning to attend college (Dosman, 2017). As Steven Holochwost and Dennie Palmer Wolf outline in a report done in collaboration with New York City’s Children’s Services on the impact of music programs, students have different ideas of themselves when they are participating in music and when they’re not:
“Participants’ statements open a window on the internal experiences of ensemble music-making that may underlie the changes in young people’s behavior. Participants suggest that while “in” music they have a different sense of themselves as part of a larger group where they can be openly engaged, focused, and energetic” (Holochwost and Wolf, 2014, p26).
HBV has the numbers to back up their program as well. HBV students outpace their peers with 92% of HBV students passing language arts and 95% passing math. Their average school attendance is 97%, and 98% of them graduate from high school in four years, as opposed to 89% attendance and 60% four year graduation in the Bronx’s District 9. Standards are held high, and for good reason; HBV believes that excellence is transferrable (Making a Difference, 2018).