The 200+ youth, ages 11-22, who come through the doors of the ARTS Center every year face challenges that all too often can stamp out their creative passion before it’s had a chance to ignite.


Most ARTS youth live in National City, California, one of the poorest cities in San Diego County, where 33% of young people under the age of 18 live below the poverty level. High rates of crime, the highest level of unemployment (5.4%), and the highest rate of diabetes and childhood obesity (50%) in our region are just some of the hurdles facing National City youth on their path to adulthood.


At ARTS, they all have the potential to develop the skills they need to navigate life’s challenges, thrive in the modern workforce, and lead positive change in their communities.