“Vital Alternatives for Healthy Minds Program” (VAMP)
utilizes drama therapy and creative expression to foster interpersonal growth and healthy lifestyles to address social and emotional development and unproductive behaviors. VAMP’s teaching artists and drama therapists facilitate weekly workshops residencies in classrooms and other sites helping young people “perform” the change they wish to become. The program’s goal is not only to place participants on the path to personal growth, career development, behavioral and attitudinal change but to give participants the encouragement as well as the empowerment to believe in themselves, to discuss their hopes, fears, and dreams.
who We Are
The Vital Alternatives for Healthy Minds Program is a nonprofit organization that enables youth to discover new and insightful ways to approach problems, clarify values, express feelings, build critical thinking skills, and practice more positive and productive behaviors. It utilizes interactive methods such as creative drama, music, dance, poetry, rap, visual arts, performances, film, and drama therapy techniques—inspiring participants to tap into their feelings, feel comfortable sharing them in a safe and trusting environment and get on their feet and “learn by doing.”
The Vital Alternatives for Healthy Minds Program (VAMP) mission is to help disengaged populations develop various skills essential to their social and emotional health through the use of the creative arts and drama therapy
The Vital Alternatives for Healthy Minds Program (VAMP) concept began in 1999 with committed juvenile offenders at Oak Hill Detention Center located in Laurel, Maryland. Founder Dr. Carmen White found herself face-to-face with a group of young people who had demonstrated and were detrimentally affected by distressing characteristics—such as conduct disorders, poor communication skills, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, special educational needs and underdeveloped motor and cognitive skills. Armed with a transformative method and dedicated to changing lives, Dr. White discovered that the only thing more rewarding than bringing out the “good” in these students was getting them to see the “good” in themselves. Utilizing different aspects of the arts and role play, Dr. White discovered how the youth could lower their defenses and tap into emotions that they were too afraid to even acknowledge, much less work through. Embedded feelings of aggression, hurt, resentment, remorse, distrust, grief, and self-doubt played a huge role in how they navigated through life.
Once it got off the ground, the program was a major success. Dr. White a graduate of New York University’s Educational Theater Program realize that in order for these urban youth to grasp on to other academics it was also imperative that the students are taught “social and emotional skills” , - how to accommodate a variety of feelings, including the feelings for others, to cope with rejection, loss, and seperation, and to practice alternatives to peer pressure and other effective ways to cope with negative influences and violence. VAMP developed cultural competent creative drama exercises and “realistic” role-training scenerios so that the students can connect, engage, become enlighten and empowered. The “CEEE” approach gave the youth an opportunity to explore issues that are pertinent to them, examine situations that they have found themselves in time and time again and determine what they could do differently to produce more favorable outcomes so the VAMP Method emerged.
Statistics suggest that the educational, mental, and physical health of school-aged children in the District places tremendous challenges on the learning environment; it can cause teacher burnout and make a traditional curriculum almost impossible to deliver efficiently.
Voice and Motion Players is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. We have remained consistent in establishing a blueprint in education through the use of the creative arts and drama therapy techniques. This blueprint is designed especially to help urban youth develop skills essential to their social and emotional health—enabling them to become successful learners at their various schools and better leaders and role-models in their homes and communities.
If you would like to make a contribution, please make your check payable to: Voice and Motion Players, Inc and mail to Voice and Motion Players, Inc, 6475 New Hampshire Avenue, Suite # 701, Hyattsville, MD 20783
© 2016 VAMP. All rights reserved.