Q&A with Howard, AMPLIFY Program Coordinator

Howard is our incredible Youth Program Coordinator. He has been working at AACI for almost 7 years, at first in the Resource and Development department, and then with our youth project, BOOF, and currently with the youth program, AMPLIFY.

Q: What does the AMPLIFY program do?

A: AMPLIFY teaches youth to get in touch with their creativity and to develop a voice through creative arts while being given a safe space to learn and grow. We provide healthy alternative activities for them so they can learn to make healthy, educated decisions opposed to getting involved with alcohol and other drugs.

We also hope to inspire youth to express themselves in a healthy manner and to understand the positive effects that creative arts can have in their community.

Q: What do you like most about your position?

A: I love being able to come up with new ideas and opportunities for youth, to provide them with a safe space to learn things that aren’t taught at school. Our youth develop strong bonds with each other and a lot of them consider AMPLIFY their second family.

Q: How does AMPLIFY impact its participants?

A: AMPLIFY helps youth grow tremendously by pushing them out of their comfort zone. Many of our youth return to the program consecutively and can later become interns for the program, which gives them not only the opportunity to grow professionally, but also to give back to the program that helped them grow.

Q: This year’s theme for Better Together (AACI’s Annual Fundraiser) is dreams. What’s your dream for yourself?

A: My dream has evolved over time. Before, I wanted to become a better film-maker. This dream came true when I finally made it into a few film festivals, such as CAAMFest. Today, my dream is to inspire youth to pursue their own dreams. I struggled as a youth because I never really had an adult role-model, I had to learn things on my own and my family wasn’t supportive of my dream.

Q: What advice would you give youth if they have trouble dreaming?

A: Follow what your heart tells you. If there is something you really love, you’ll find a way to make it work. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to fail, and if you do fail, learn from it and keep moving forward!

Q: What’s your dream for the community?

A: I’d love to bring together the creative community, make it stronger in the Bay Area, and be able to provide a platform where artists can share their talents and passions.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: I play basketball and the guitar. As you already may have guessed, I also love film-making and photography!

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