“From a Space to a Place” (FASTAP) was born from a spirit of hope and a spirit of concern.

One of the major contributing concerns was the reality that, with increasing urbanization, globalization, and war-related conflicts, the youth are becoming more and more isolated and detached from their environment and are being targeted by different kinds of threatening groups (gangs, extremists, child traffickers...). The terrorist attacks that occurred at the beginning of 2015 in France and around the globe reinforced the need, and awakened the will, to act on this injustice by developing a holistic platform to educate our youth creatively, to give them a sense of purpose, to inspire them, and to protect them. It also reinforced an inner desire to unite forces with dedicated individuals and organizations that are already doing incredible work in the community by creating sanctuaries for disconnected and at risk children – populations that are becoming more and more vulnerable as the world becomes more violent – who are lacking the hope, education, love and care that they need.

Action is required in order to change the unacceptable, and FASTAP is an example of how a person, or group of people, can respond to injustice by doing something positive. FASTAP does this by actively contributing to the creation of a holistic educational platform in a caring environment to nurture our youth so that we don’t lose them. The first step in our journey was developing a program that would invite the youth, particularly those in under-served neighborhoods, to be the positive change they wish to see in the world.

Witnessing the ability of the youth to serve a greater purpose in their communities, and to bring innovative ideas into the world around them, inspired the further cultivation of this vision to include an educational program in which middle and high school students would be invited to re-imagine and improve public spaces in their community while developing positive connections between their environment and its people.

This is how “From a Space to a Place” was born, with the overwhelming support of our Texan-French Alliance for the Arts’ board of directors, and the hard work of a few educators, artists, community developers, students and volunteers, including Marjon Aucoin, David Graeve, Noël Bezette-Flores, Jade Darwich, Myriam Guichard, Hadia Mawlawi, Sarah Perkins and myself who contributed to this exciting human adventure. It starts with a vision to create positive change in response to an injustice, and it is brought to life through selfless collaboration with others wanting to do good in our communities, and in our world.

So how do we support our youth in building a future where they can be a positive part of their community while developing positive connections with their environment and its people?

  • First, by establishing a collaborative, youth mentoring program that gives students exposure to many different disciplines and helps them to develop and hone their creative thinking skills. Through this creative journey, the students are invited to explore their inner selves as well as their environment, allowing them to understand their community and its inhabitants on a deeper level. They can then identify the needs of their community, and use the skills that they acquire to design and implement their own unique vision to address those needs.

  • By turning their vision into reality, the youth are taking action and introducing urban installations to their communities that will last; something envisioned, created and sustained by the members of the community, to empower them, to encourage them.

  • Working with different experts, and being exposed to many disciplines (including Art, Science, Technology, Ecology, Mindfulness, Non-violent communication, Leadership and Project Management techniques…), gives children the tools to be the positive change they wish to see in this world. The vision is theirs; we are simply assisting them in giving life to their collective dream.

  • We do this program with middle school and high school students, mostly in under-served neighborhoods, anytime we can.

This is an example of how the positive change we wish to see in the world starts – with a vision and by uniting our forces. I am very grateful to all the educators, artists, therapists, students and volunteers who shared with us their talent and their passion to serve others and to paint a more compassionate canvas for the world.

We encourage you to read some of the amazing realizations and testimonials that FASTAP has already given life to. Feel free to browse through and enjoy our website. This is only the beginning… It’s time to take action!