Gesher Human Services' Skill Building Program provides opportunities for adults living with intellectual and developmental disabilities to learn new skills and develop themselves professionally with the hopes of one day gaining paid employment.
The Skill Building Program contracts with local non-profits to establish learning opportunities for Gesher participants. These are all unpaid volunteer opportunities, such as working in a community garden (which you can see on this Fox 2 news report, here) and are meant to eventually lead to paid positions within the Gesher Vocational Program.
The Creative Expressions Program at Gesher Human Services has partnered with The College for Creative Studies and The Detroit Symphony Orchestra to create opportunities for Skill Building Participants to learn and experience creative vocations within the arts. Below are some examples of Creative Expressions/Skill Building Programs.
The Skill Building Program began working with Creative Expressions in 2023. From January to March (Q1), they've participated in 3 programs, provided by 2 separate creative community partners (CCS and DSO). They've focused on the visual arts and music arts genres, and the programs have served a total of 12-15 people per/program, over 3 months. The participants attended 33 individual classes during that time
COLLEGE FOR CREATIVE STUDIES
Creative Vocational Tours & Photojournalism
Participants go to the College for Creative Studies once a week for two separate classes. They start their day by meeting up with a Teaching Artist from CCS' Community Arts Partnership program for a class entitled Creative Vocational Tours. During that class, the group takes a deep dive into one of the 14+ arts disciplines within CCS.
Examples of disciplines participants have toured include:
Fine Arts, where they learned about being a painter, sculptor, printmaker, or multi-media artist.
Advertising Design, where they learned about making art for marketing purposes.
Illustration, where they learned about the making art that tells a story and how they could do that for a living.
Fashion Design, where they learned about wearable art.
Film, where they learned about making movies.
Entertainment Arts, where they learned about animation, concept design, and art for video games.
Interior Design, where they learned about the art of design in respects to commercial buildings and residential living spaces.
Industrial Design, where they learned about the art of designing everything we use in our daily lives, from automobiles in Transportation Design to shoes or cell phones or vacuums, for instance, in Product Design.
Photography, where they learned the art of taking pictures and how those can be used to either be an independent artist or a photojournalist.
- and more...
Participants were provided with a digital SLR camera to use during their tours. They were expected to take pictures, and those photos would then be used during a second class, the same day, after a short break, and that was dedicated to Photojournalism.
DETROIT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
DSO/Skill Building Music Group
Participants from Gesher Human Services' Skill Building program meet once a week to create, perform, and practice making music at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Hall. The program is led by Creative Arts Therapies Inc, certified Music Therapist, Jody Conradi Stark and is attended by DSO Musicians who work directly with Gesher musicians to develop music for a later performance.
For more information about these programs, check out the following articles and interviews:
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