Theatre Of Hearts/Youth First has been widely recognized for excellence in arts education:

2016: TOHYF was selected to be included as one of forty premier arts organizations in California, and one of only four in Los Angeles, featured in the California Arts Council’s publication Forty Stories, Forty Years, which profiles the work of forty grantees since 1976 for their notable contributions to arts and creativity in California.

2013: TOHYF is selected by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission to provide standards-based arts education programs and Professional Development seminars to schools in the Compton and Lancaster Unified School Districts through the Student Access Fund.

2011: TOHYF continues as an ongoing member of The City Of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office Gang Reduction Youth Development  (GRYD) program coalition, working in association with the Asian American Drug Abuse Program, Inc. (AADAP) in the 77th (II) GRYD region as the program’s only arts education partner, providing Central Los Angeles youth with creative, productive alternatives to gang life.

2008: TOHYF is identified in The California Endowment study The Power of Art as an organization using effective intervention strategy for at-risk youth.

2008: Los Angeles County Arts Commission-Arts Education Directory and the Los Angeles Unified School District-Arts Community Partnership Network recognize TOHYF as an organization providing arts education that meets the California State Standards for the Visual and Performing Arts.

1997: The Rand Corporation’s The Arts and Public Safety Impact Study recognizes TOHYF as an exemplary arts education organization engaged in “best practices.” The study’s findings note that our program possesses:

  • Highly committed, task-oriented personnel who work as “change agents” for at-risk youth;
  • Commitment to developing youth as “whole people” and a belief in the power of the arts to affect overall, positive change in youth who have had trouble succeeding in other activities;
  • Sensitivity to community needs and opportunities for art interventions to fulfill those needs;
  • Sophistication in program practices, including documentation of lesson plans and training to prepare artist-teachers to handle challenging situations with difficult youths;
  • Openness to sharing program knowledge and lessons learned with other youth-serving organizations;
  • Appreciation for program evaluation and need to demonstrate benefits to youth in a scientifically rigorous manner.

1995: The U.S. Department of Justice features the TOHYF Artist-In-Residence Program and Executive Director Sheila Scott-Wilkinson in their publication Part of the Solution: Creative Alternatives for Youth as examples of leadership in developing and implementing successful and effective arts education programming.

1995: The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies designates TOHYF as a model program.



In addition to these accomplishments, TOHYF has also received acknowledgement from several state and local legislatures for dedication to arts education.