Mayor Howard W. Peak


1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

URBAN smARTs is a comprehensive after school prevention and intervention program which combines case management and the arts to divert minor offenders and "at risk" youth away from the juvinile justice system. The program is a collaborative partnership among the City of San Antonio (COSA) Department of Community Initiatives, the COSA Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs, the COSA Department of Parks and Recreation, the San Antonio School District, and the South San Antonio School District.

The COSA Department of Community Initiatives provides the professional case management staff through its Youth Services Division. The COSA Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs, through its Arts-in-Education component, provides the vehicle for the recruitment of local professional artists. The COSA Department of Parks and Recreation provides the nutrition component through its after school Challenge Program. The San Antonio School District and South San Antonio School District provide the Teacher Liaisons, transportation, and facility for each program site. Interns for the program are recruited from the various colleges and universities in San Antonio and the surrounding area.

At the heart of the URBAN smARTS project is a partnership between artists, caseworkers, teachers, community friends, and parents who contribute their time, efforts and resources to give young people confronted with urban risks a new direction in life. Artists (performance and visual), caseworkers and school personnel collaborate to offer engaging arts-centered curricula, coupled with on going case management (including self-esteem building and family based counseling and resource referrals). As part of its diverse goals, the program seeks to improve student academic achievement, attendance, and behavioral problems.

The program targets elementary and middle school youth in an effort to provide early intervention and prevention activities in an after school safe haven setting. URBAN smARTS is a blend of the arts, support services, and education.

2. When was the program created and why?

The program was created in 1993 in response to the COSA City Councilís priority of youth that targeted: (1) youth "at risk" and (2) juvenile crime prevention.

3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?

The programís effectiveness is measured by behavioral outcome indicators outlined by the Office of the Governor Criminal Justice Divisionís Juvenile Programís Progress Report. URBAN smARTS was independently evaluated by the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) of San Antonio. According to IDRAís 1995 report, students participating in URBAN smARTS demonstrate a 55.6% overall grade improvement, an 80.6% attendance improvement, and a 41.5% citizenship improvement.

4. How is the program financed?

The programís funding source from fiscal year 1993 through 1998 was a grant awarded by the State of Texas Office of the Governor Criminal Justice Division with the City of San Antonioís General Fund required as a cash match. Beginning fiscal year 1999 the program will be funded by the Cityís General Fund.

5. How is the community involved in the program?

The program is implemented in the local community at schools in both the San Antonio School District and the South San Antonio School District. The community, school districts, and community leaders have responded positively to URBAN smARTS and have openly embraced this program. Communication and coordination with all agencies, entities, and individuals is imperative to the success of the program.

6. Contact person:

Becky Gonzalez

Program Manager

115 Plaza de Armas, Suite 190

San Antonio, TX 78205

Ph: (210) 207-7129

Fax: (210) 207-4075

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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