viBe Theater Experience produces original theater and music about real-life issues written and performed by New York City teenage girls.
viBe’s intensive programming is free and engages, inspires, and empowers girls (ages 13-19) to write, create, publish, direct, and perform personal and truthful collaborative theater and music about the real-life issues they face daily. viBe provides a safe, creative space for girls to express their voices, take on challenges and gain the self-confidence necessary to succeed personally, artistically and academically.
Since 2002, more than 60 viBe productions have brought free theater, live musical performances, music videos, and radio plays to thousands of diverse audience members, changing their perceptions about the kind of art that young women can create.
WHY WE DO IT
Studies show that black girls and young women disproportionately experience violence at school, on the job, at home, and in their neighborhoods.
The recently published report "Girlhood Interrupted," found that American adults tend to view black girls as "less innocent and more adult-like" than their white peers, a bias that can contribute to the disproportionate discipline in public schools and the criminal-justice system.
As noted the study, “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out Overpoliced and Unprotected” and scholarship like "Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools" by Monique Morris note that girls of color face more challenges than others when it comes to the way that they are disciplined, educated, and denied leadership opportunities.
A 2012 NEA study on arts engagement found that more than half the students from low income families with exposure to the arts went on to pursue careers in law, public service and education. "No Idle Hours: Making After School Time Fun and Productive for Chicago Teenagers" shows that high quality after school programs provide such positive role modes for advantaged youth to excel but most viBeGirls lack the financial resources to afford after school programming; and high quality arts programming is even more limited.
viBeGirls come from over 20 public high schools as well as countless social service organizations. 90% of our girls are black. The majority from immigrant, particularly Caribbean, African and South American families.
viBeGirls are particularly vulnerable to push-out trends such as “school to prison pipeline”. The ACLU defines the "school to prison pipeline" as “a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.” Students of color are particularly vulnerable to these push out trends.
90% of viBe participants are girls of color from under-resourced communities with poorly performing public schools and 70% live in households that lack the resources to pay for tutoring and arts programs that can inform their studies and bolster their self-esteem.
A 2015 survey on national suspension rates administered through the Civil Rights Data Collection showed that schools where viBe regularly recruits, girls are disproportionately disciplined, suspended and expelled.
Talent Unlimited High School: 35% of the students identify as black, but 100% of expulsions administered to black students.
Brooklyn High School of the Arts: 68% of the students identify as black but 79% of in-school suspensions & 100% of expulsions administered to black students.
Achievement First North Brooklyn Charter School: 26% of the students identify as black but 50% of in-school & 50% of out of school suspensions administered to black students.
Brooklyn Latin: 17% of the students identify as black but 42% of in-school suspensions administered to black students.
Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice: 71% of students identify as black but 83% of in-school and 100% of out of school suspensions administered to black students.
Khalil Gibran International Academy: 6% of the students identify as Hispanic but 33% of school suspensions were administered to Hispanic students.
viBe engages over 325 girls and young women (ages 13-24) through free, after school programs, while also reaching over 600 NYC public school students and 1,500 audience members through performances at professional venues.
NYC public schools had a 74.3%% overall graduation rate in 2017, with 70% of black students and 68.3% of Hispanic students having graduated by August 2017, compared with 83.2% of white students. However viBe has always maintained a 100% high school graduation rate from our participants.
We help with college readiness, internships, applications, and assist girls with making plans for their lives post high school. Over 90% of viBe girls continue on to enroll in college, attending such universities as: Syracuse, Temple, Hunter, St. John’s, SUNY Purchase, Simmons and more. In the future, we aim to inspire 100% of them to enroll in college through the mentorship we provide them during and after our programs.
Over 50% of our alumnae since 2002 remain in touch with us via email, Facebook and attend viBe performances and fundraisers. They also return to volunteer, intern and lecture for current viBe girls.