Nonprofit Glass Arts Program for At-Risk Youth Utilizes Donated Software
The Hilltop area of Tacoma, Washington, was well-known for its crime and gang activity. Using the arts, a small group of people sought to change this. In 1994, with the help of world-famous glass artist Dale Chihuly, the Hilltop Artists' nonprofit glass arts program began. It is an organization dedicated to using glass art to connect young people from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds with better futures.
With a tuition-free program, youth have the opportunity to learn the art of glass blowing, mosaics, fused glass, and beadwork. The organization is especially effective with young people who are searching for ways to connect and belong. No students are refused services based on their past behavior, grades, disabilities, or artistic talent. Hilltop also does outreach to communities that are dealing with high risk factors such as poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, and violence.
Hilltop Artists does so much positive work in the community, and it wanted to get the word out about its programs, while also tracking donors, glass sales, and contacts. By using Microsoft Access, it now has a complete database of all its contacts. Hilltop is able to send these contacts newsletters that keep the community up-to-date on what it is doing. Using Microsoft Office, Hilltop Artists works with its students to write resumes and artist biography reports. This helps these students find employment and exhibit their works at local galleries. The integration of Microsoft technology has not only helped the organization increase its reach, it has also increased its volunteer base.