Photo collage of Vessels of Praise performers

OUR MISSION

Vessels of Praise, Inc. is a non-profit (501c3), community-based organization dedicated to unlocking creativity in others utilizing drama, dance, pantomime and flag twirling. We are dedicated to restoring communities by building families and training youth to be productive leaders. Our classes are designed to develop the whole being: spirit, mind, and body, from the inside out. We address the moral foundations upon which those lives are built. Vessels of Praise, Inc. has been in existence since November 1997 and has worked diligently to become a notable presence in the Greater Trenton community.

BACKGROUND

Research has shown that intelligence is demonstrated through various forms and that students can have very different cognitive strengths and styles. The arts appeal to non-traditional learners, captivating their imaginations and giving them opportunities to succeed.

Performing arts provides alternatives for success for those struggling academically and those students who are at risk of dropping out of school. Statistics show that youth who have chronic absenteeism or who have dropped out of school report significantly higher levels of drug and alcohol use than their peers who attend school regularly and have a strong sense of identity and purpose.

Creative art education offers many possibilities for developing applicable techniques that are transferable to all areas in life. Adolescents are attracted to music, drama, and dance because it fulfills their need for self-expression.

In support of the Creative Arts, former President Clinton stated, “The creative arts and humanities empower us to celebrate our individual identities, while reminding us of the values and commitments that unite us a society.”

“The arts have the power to transform communities and individual lives. Participation in creative arts programs offers young people and adults alike opportunities for skill-building, expression, collaboration and empowerment.Elaine M. Johnson, Ph.D., The Arts and Prevention Pipeline, 1995.

Click on the following links to YouTube to view videos of Vessels of Praise's performances:

Yes: Part 1

Yes: Part 2

I Believe I Can Fly

Learn to Fly

Free

I Can Only Imagine

Vessels of Praise Programs

Our program promotes healthy lifestyles through a holistic approach. Many come with issues such as poor self-image, emotional distress, lack of discipline, and little understanding of the purpose for their lives. Participants of our program are challenged to develop their own character and to build healthy relationships with family, friends, teachers and community leaders. Our programs are designed to produce nurturing individuals who will be positive contributors of society.

Today’s challenges affect all cultures, ethnicity, and ages; therefore we present issues from various perspectives with more vividness, less intimidation, and in ways that promote a fuller understanding as an effective means for promoting change. Our staff and members are from diverse backgrounds, including some that are fluent in Spanish.

Our Creative Arts instruction classes are held on Fridays and Saturday mornings and are open to everyone ages 5 and older. Classes includes ballet, jazz, choreography techniques, tap, aerobic, pantomime, stage presence, dramatic improvisations, flag twirling, and costuming.

Healing Hearts Program is designed to improve the lives of adolescents suffering from painful challenges due to trauma, grief, loss, separation, violence, abuse or mistreatment utilizing art, drama, poetry and other creative outlets. The Program Director and a Counselor lead psychoeducational and therapeutic groups in a confidential, safe environment. Individual and their family counseling is also available as needed. Youth are encouraged to communicate with the group only their particular circumstance as they choose to through writing, drama and poetic expressions.

The Pathway to Greatness Institute (Anger Management program) affords students an avenue to re-channel their anger by creatively expressing themselves through poetry, creative writing and our “Peacemaker” curriculum. In addition, trips exposing youth to positive consequences of controlling anger are planned four times per year.

The Success Institute has been designed to assist at risk students who have had issues with truancy, probation, family incarceration or other issues affecting inner city youth. Bi-monthly individual and group sessions are provided to address specific issues related to their family and/or school situations.

OUR GOALS

Our purpose is to offer a holistic approach to family life education through the performing arts. Rather than merely urging individuals to “just say no” to premarital sex, drugs, alcohol and other destructive choices, participants explore a vast range of positive choices: activities, attitudes and adventures that invite a promising “YES” response. Through dramatic presentations, dances, music and life skills training, we believe participants will become productive leaders in their communities and represent America through non-traditional methods. Learning to deal with challenges directly facilitates the healing process of the mind, body, and soul, thus, creates a healthy community and hope for the future.

Weeks of preparation and practice leads to dance, drama and musical performances at venues such as schools, hospitals, and civic organizations throughout the tri-state area. Our presentations focus on issues such as violence prevention, abstinence to drugs and alcohol, resolving interpersonal conflict, coping techniques for family trauma, and other concerns that plague our youth and community. Our soul stirring performances cause the audience to reflect on the subjects that affect their lives, and ultimately, perpetuate change.

TUITION

For less than $10.00 per week, students are able to participate in our classes twice weekly. Financial aid is also available to eligible families or individuals.