The YES! Project

That conflict will occur in daily life is unavoidable. Tensions between race, gender, youth and young adults, the elderly, siblings, parents and even friends are marked by emotional injury, gang activity, domestic violence, and homicide. What if there is an intrinsic value in disagreement that can only be mined when the disagreement occurs? Can such a common occurrence yield results that are life giving as opposed to life threatening? Catalyst’s flagship program under our Arts & Society line of business, The YES! Project (YouthArts in Education and Society), is a research-based, conflict-resolution curriculum development program that endeavors to answer such questions by expanding access to the successful performing arts-based conflict resolution model of City at Peace (CAP) to the High Schools and community-based organizations in Washington, DC. This collaborative of artists, educators, curriculum specialists and trainers from The Lincoln Theatre, CAP, and Catalyst is assessing the current CAP curriculum design and will develop a conceptual framework for its final and complete articulation. The foundational strength of the CAP curriculum is its use of real issues facing those engaged in the course work, encouraging expression through the writing and telling of their life stories; it promotes community literacy while teaching the skills of conflict resolution. This approach has been known to improve intergenerational dialogue; help young people develop respect for self and others; empower students toward civic participation and enhance emotional intelligence by encouraging leadership cultivating critical and consequential thinking. Our initial target populations for program pilots are The District of Columbia Public High School students and the residents of a proposed Hope VI Community Development Project in Southeast Washington, DC.