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.
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
VAMP utilizes a hands-on theatrical and interactive approach. The method offers an outlet for youth and adults—by redirecting their energies and imagination toward improved awareness of self and others. The non-threatening peer setting encourages participants to express personal concerns, explore their own value systems, and use drama therapy and creative expression as a catalyst for personal growth and social change. To achieve our objectives, the VAMP Method uses the (CEEE) approach:
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