Project Jericho, a nationally acclaimed outreach program based at Clark State Community College, continues to provide positive, in-depth arts experiences for the community of Springfield, including college students at Clark State. The organization creates student internships, work-study jobs and volunteer opportunities for students passionate about the arts.
Project Jericho serves at-risk youth and their families by providing a variety of performing arts workshops, artist residencies and family performances. It is a collaborative initiative of the College’s Performing Arts Center and Job & Family Services of Clark County, with additional support from The Turner Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.
While encouraging the development of an individual’s talents through music, poetry, painting, dance and theater, the local non-profit assists young men and women to become confident, poised and positive adults. For Clark State, this has also opened doors for students passionate about the arts like Brittany M. Rothgeb, Laura Hostetler and Brennen Waldron.
Brittany M. Rothgeb, a seven-year participant of Project Jericho, grew up in the program and has participated in nearly every project since she was 11 years old. Her music teacher encouraged her to join and her favorite project was My Song which allows participants to write, record and perform their very own song.
“With Project Jericho I found a way to be myself and to be creative, and that’s what the program does for kids, along with keeping them out of trouble,” said Rothgeb.
Today, Rothgeb is studying to become an early childhood education teacher at Clark State. She still explores her creative side through her work-study position with the theatre program.
Like many Clark State students, Laura Hostetler is a full-time student and a single mother. She’s an associate of arts general transfer student with a passion for outreach and dreams of opening a community youth center in Springfield. Her personal experience with Project Jericho, however, has been life changing for her and her son.
Since the age of two, Hostetler’s son has struggled with behavioral issues. Most recently, he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Hostetler was hesitant to put him on any medication and wanted to explore different options. That’s when a caseworker referred her to the Project Jericho Preschool Art Program for the month of September.
“There was one time when he was running around with a paintbrush and that session was spent creating drums and marching in place with the other children. The instructors didn’t say, ‘You can’t do that,’ but they took a seemingly negative behavior and changed it into something positive,” said Hostetler. “What I learned as a parent was that I have to be more creative with my strategies, to make them more hands-on to encourage a calmer behavior, and it’s working.”
Project Jericho serves all types of children from different backgrounds and age groups. Brennen Waldron works with many in The Bucket Band, which serves the youth ages eight to 17. The Bucket Band is a drum line that performs popular songs on plastic utility buckets around Springfield. This fall, the band performed at Springfield’s CultureFest.
“Project Jericho welcomes everyone and their creativity, no matter what their background is like or their present situation is like. We provide a wholesome environment where kids can express themselves through the art they create whether that be in front of a bucket, blank canvas or on stage,” said Waldron. “I think that’s something schools don’t always teach and even some homes forget about, to encourage kids to be themselves and tell us exactly how they’re feeling.”
Waldron is pursuing a business transfer to Wright State University degree. After he receives his associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, he plans on becoming a non-profit human resources director. He was first approached by Project Jericho after his own band, Sun Culture, performed at several community events. Sun Culture is an indie alternative band from Springfield. Waldron sings and plays the lead guitar for the band.
As a part of the work-study program through Clark State, he has been working with The Bucket Band since January and is new to drumming. His experience with The Bucket Band has enhanced the way he understands music, especially when guiding others.
“The best part is that I’m a member of the band too so I get to play with them and learn with them, but it also creates a very supportive environment that builds trust,” adds Waldron.
Project Jericho received national acclaim when it was awarded a Coming Up Taller award in 2008 from the White House. Their motto, “Art changes lives” rings true throughout the city of Springfield with their continual programing and city initiatives including the construction of the mural outside of the YMCA building this past summer.
Visit the Project Jericho website for more information on programs, media and contact information.