Ginga Arts empowers at-risk youth by offering programs featuring the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira, in addition to other arts, dance, sports, and cultural programs. By teaching skills that are at once athletic and artful in a safe and positive environment, Ginga Arts strives to help youth become physically fit and self-reliant, learn trust and cooperation, build self-esteem, achieve respect for oneself and others, and find an outlet for creative expression. Ginga Arts hopes to preserve the rich and vibrant cultural aspects of capoeira and other Brazilian arts while supporting LA’s underserved youth. Over 400 youth receive free, weekly classes at in-school and after-school settings.
Ginga Arts programs serve children who live in poverty, are at high risk for delinquency, dropping out of school, and suffer from chronic health conditions such as obesity. In the district we serve only 31 percent of students complete high school. Students are predominately Latino and among live in the most underserved communities in the United States. Ginga Arts programs increase physical activity and expose students to music and dance art forms. We work to enrich the lives of children stuck in some of the poorest schools nationwide.
Physical Education classes in the United States fall below the national guidelines for providing adequate rigorous exercise for children at a rate of about 92%. Most classes only give rigorous activity during 10% of allotted class time versus the recommended 50%. Furthermore, children who are ethnic minorities and/or are living in poverty have an increased risk of falling into a low-level physical activity lifestyle.
The children who attend Ginga Arts’ programs not only predominantly fall into these high-risk groups they also live in neighborhoods where outdoor physical activity carries the extra onus of risking their safety. Some of the main reasons for inactivity among these populations is lack of recreation facilities, insufficient funds to begin recreation programs, and low-quality PE classes. Physical activity during school and after school promotes healthy social and physical development. Also, childhood physical activity is strongly correlated with an adult active lifestyle. It is important then to give children a good active foundation.