About VAMP

Using Drama to Change Minds for Changing Times

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.”

Mission

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

History

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.

DONATE

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 METHOD

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:

An individual who understands the importance of how we say what we say, of each person getting primary needs met, and of having the ability and desire to shift communication styles, can dramatically effect the achievement of the people with whom he or she interacts. This model helps you connect, motivate and resolve conflicts.
Creative expression is central in our development. Providing creativity for quick interaction allow facilitators to establish relationships quickly and efficiently. Through the use of creative drama, music, dance, poetry, rap, visual arts, performances, film, and movement, our participants are able to tap into their creative energies, letting go of their inhibitions to explore new grounds.
Through drama therapy techniques such as role-play, hot-seating, still-images, sculpturing, thought-tracking and improvisation, participants are able to create a safe and trusting environment where they can confront, examine and address specific issues that are relevant to them. The process involves enacting scenes based on specific concerns, reflecting on the action and discussing the outcome. When they see themselves in the very characters that VAMP team and their fellow peers create, they immediately drop their defenses and become more aware of their feelings and open to discussing their own behaviors.
Through guided reflection and discussion during and after role-play and drama therapy techniques, participants are empowered to take responsibility for their actions. Participants see themselves for the first time as change agents and overall are more prepared to make better decisions, which will lead to positive consequences.



 

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

202-438-6985 | bdramatic@verizon.net

1300 I Street, NW Suite 400

Washington, DC 20008

www.vitalalternatives.org

© 2016 VAMP. All rights reserved.