A Theory of Change: How the Mind, the Heart, and the Future can be Shaped Through Creative Expression
The goal of this thesis was to create a theory of change for an annual Multicultural Arts Camp (MAC) that offers youth with trauma histories opportunities to cultivate protective factors associated with resilience. MAC is designed to promote four primary protective outcomes among its participants: (1) safety, (2) self-expression, (3) skill-building and (4) self-efficacy through exploration of various multicultural art forms and connecting with caring adults. The theory of change was informed by my observations during my experience as a MAC volunteer and my review of academic literature to better define and understand how various factors involved in the MAC program are linked to resilience processes. Arts programming can provide opportunities for youth who have experienced trauma to feel safe enough to engage in self-expression and build corresponding skills that promote feelings of self-efficacy. Building these protective factors thereby strengthens children’s capacity for resilience. Accordingly, the theory of change articulates program activities and processes that promote these outcomes among participating youth. Program directors may draw on the theory of change for strategic planning and evaluation efforts assessing the program’s processes and corresponding impact.