Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA) is an art jobs training program located in Berkeley, California which is committed to empowering and bettering the lives of homeless and low-income San Francisco Bay Area young people, ages 16-25. The mission of Youth Spirit Artworks is to use art jobs and jobs training to empower and transform the lives of youth, giving young people the skills, experience, and self-confidence needed to meet their full potential. True to its name – Youth Spirit Artworks is growing, spirited and creative. Like the young people we serve, YSA is strong, resilient and evolving.
Youth Spirit Artworks was founded in 2007, by Sally Hindman, an exuberant and dedicated longtime Berkeley resident. Sally has over twenty years of management and nonprofit experience, primarily working with homeless people. She received her M.A. in Theology and Art and her M. Div. from Pacific School of Religion. Sally is an adjunct faculty member at the Graduate Theological Union Center for Art, Religion, and Education and Starr King School for the Ministry teaching “Liberation Art.” Sally is the co-founder of Street Spirit, the San Francisco East Bay homeless newspaper. The publication started in 1995 and is circulated on a monthly basis. It is a cornerstone of homeless activism and advocacy in the East Bay. In 1998 she received KPFA radio’s Alice Hamburg Community Service Award for her outstanding leadership in serving homeless people in the East Bay. Sally has been an active member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) since 1984. Prior to founding YSA, she served as executive director of Berkeley California’s interfaith Chaplaincy to the Homeless.
But YSA was not built by one woman alone! A group of experienced and dedicated people served as the founding Advisory Board. Some of these marvelous leaders include Maheesh Jain, founding President, Lauren Snider-Brandt, founding Secretary, Lila McDonald and Nishan Ardon, who worked very hard on our graphics and marketing materials. Berkeley City Council Member Max Anderson has assisted us in securing funding from the City of Berkeley and from other sources and has been a tremendous all around supporter of YSA’s vision and development.
The idea of combining artistic and entrepreneurial skills, as well as utilizing young people’s creative energy to contribute to community revitalization came from Sally’s direct involvement with young people in the streets. As one of the initiators of the Alameda County Homeless Youth Collaborative, Sally had observed first hand at the Telegraph Avenue Homeless Youth Drop-In Center the unmet needs of transition age youth for jobs and jobs training programs. She saw the need for a place where young people would be able to experience stability and kindness, as well as opportunities for growth and learning that was relevant to the challenges they faced daily. Sally saw the need for young people to learn hands-on business skills through creative modalities. She knew the value of supportive peer community and believed in the power of utilizing art to unleash young people’s energy and drive to contribute and succeed.
Sally envisioned a place where homeless and at-risk youth could come to create and sell art, learn job skills, and contribute to their neighborhoods through community revitalization art projects. Thus Youth Spirit Artworks was born.