A Reason To Survive (ARTS) is a nationally recognized organization that believes in the power of the arts and creativity to literally transform lives – especially those of kids. We believe in the therapeutic powers of the arts, but we are not clinical art therapists. We use all forms of art as a vehicle to create positive, long-lasting change and transformation in children and youth facing major life challenges. By providing a sequential program model of therapeutic arts programs, arts education, and college & career preparation, we provide a one-stop-shop for youth to move from crisis to college or career. We provide Direct Services to youth, Support Services to like-minded individuals and organizations, and Advocacy to community stakeholders and leaders about the  importance of arts programming for youth

A Reason To Survive is dedicated to providing, supporting, and advocating for arts programs that heal, inspire, and empower youth facing adversity.
All children facing life challenges have the opportunity and resources to experience the transformative power of the arts!
ARTS Values are the guiding force for our culture: how we act & behave, make decisions, treat one another (staff, volunteers, kid’s, donors, vendors, and stakeholders), and keep ourselves accountable. It’s our internal compass to ensure we are on the right path.

Kids First – Always put what’s best for the kids first

Creativity – Infuse creativity in everything we do; being innovative in our approaches and open to new ideas. Take risks and try new things. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and grow.

Flexibility – Be able to adapt in a changing environment – whether it’s a kids art project and or an organizational growth strategy. Don’t fear change – Embrace it, drive it and be able to capitalize on it.

Positivity and Fun – Work hard, play hard as a close knit family. Whether you are a student, volunteer, staff, vendor, or donor – all of us are working together towards a very positive goal – to transform kids lives through the arts. In doing so, we should have fun along the way and create an environment that is not only positive, safe, nurturing and supportive for kids – but for anyone who comes in touch with the organization.

Strong Relationships Built on Communication – All strong relationships are built on trust. We believe that trust is built on great communication. For us great communication is: Open, honest, clear, direct, respectful, and inclusive. Part of creating this type of communication and trust is to develop emotional connections and meaningful relationships. It’s important to always act with integrity in your relationships, to be compassionate, friendly, loyal, and to make sure that you do the right thing and treat your relationships well. The hardest thing to do is to build trust, but if the trust exists, you can accomplish so much more.

Resource Responsibility – Although we may work in a creative, flexible, fun and positive environment – we are extremely focused and serious when it comes to our operations and resource management. We truly value the financial resources our donors entrust in us and run our organization in the most cost efficient and effective way possible. We are committed to being responsible stewards of both the financial and human resources given to us, and strive to make every individual and dollar count.

Accountability – We believe that a large part of success is brought about by being accountable. Saying what we’ll do, doing what we say and supporting others to do the same. If we fall short, we are humble enough to admit it, learn, and grow. Leadership does not have a title – everyone takes personal responsibility and leadership for themselves and their work. We also strongly believe in recognizing and celebrating everyone’s efforts and achievements. Trying your hardest with passion, commitment, and dedication will always be celebrated!


• The arts have the power to transform lives – especially those of kids
• Creativity and innovation are vital to a child’s success in the world today
• Through artistic expression kids are able to process their feelings, accept, heal, and grow
• The artistic and creative process is therapeutic in itself and leads to a healthy, well-rounded life
• The arts allow kids to express themselves in positive ways
• The arts allow kids the opportunity to build a positive relationship and trust with adults and peers
• The arts build self-confidence and self-esteem…kids learn to trust themselves
• The arts build critical creative capacity that prepares kids for the creative workforce
• The arts increase the ability to control behavior and emotions
• The arts teach important life skills such as sharing, teamwork and problem solving
• There is no “right” or “wrong” in the creative process
• The arts help kids find validation
• Kids need to be kids and kids deserve to be kids



  1. […] The short documentary, Inocente, explores the issue of homelessness among youth. It follows a young girl named Inocente Izucar as she starts to set up her first arts show in alliance with the nonprofit organization ARTS.  […]


National City Community Service Day

April 9, 2015

  Register for National City’s 2nd Annual Community Service Day here: http://www.ci.national-city.ca.us/index.aspx?page=669 ARTS is a proud partner...



March 11, 2015

  Come by the ARTS Center on Saturday, March 21, from 1pm-4pm to celebrate artwork and performances that ARTS students have created throughout the quarter!



Mosaic Installation Volunteer Opportunities!

January 27, 2015

Do you like to art, getting messy and having fun? Join us for a day of mosaic installation at the ARTS Center. We are currently working on a huge mosaic wall in...