Established in 1984 by former-ballerina-turned-criminal-defense-attorney Sherry Jason and her husband attorney Bob Jason, City Hearts is a non-profit organization providing free visual and performing arts classes to children in Los Angeles. City Hearts was founded on the belief that the arts can and do help rehabilitate troubled youth who are plagued by drugs and gangs. City Hearts is now an integral part of the prevention and rehabilitation efforts in Los Angeles’ inner city. The program is a model for youth diversion programs nation-wide. City Hearts currently reaches 500 inner-city, abused, homeless, and court-affiliated youth each week.
Sherry Jason leaves full-time law practice with Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office to create ballet for Topanga School and Performing Company. She continues as attorney and advocate for children’s rights.
City Hearts founded by former-ballerina-turned-criminal-defense-attorney Sherry Jason and her husband Bob who met in the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office in 1977.
City Hearts program begins with three classes for 60 children from 9th Street School.
The Jasons meet with law enforcement and juvenile justice officials to launch “Sentenced To The Stage,” a program giving youthful offenders the option of taking City Hearts classes as a condition of probation to satisfy community service hours.
The Jasons meet with the Seattle, Washington Juvenile Justice Committee for guidance on expanding City Hearts programs. They subsequently found “The Alder Studios: Youth in Arts” a separate IRS 501(c)(3).
“From Gangs to the Stage,” the City Heart’s program serving incarcerated youth in Los Angeles County is begun.
Production of “Slipping Into Darkness” lauded by the Los Angeles Times.
Office of Criminal Justice Planning awards City Hearts a two-year grant. The “Youth Arts Diversion” program continues City Hearts work with at-risk youth.
City Hearts counselor Dr. Holly Barrett, Ph.D. begins study on the effects of the arts as a diversion to at-risk youth.
” Sentenced To The Stage” participants create theater company named “City Dreamers: City Hearts Youth Theater”. Premiere production in March. San Diego Juvenile Court Presiding Judge William Pate asks the Jasons to help create “Sentenced To The Stage” in San Diego.
June – “For Girls Only” curriculum launched with special workshop and classes. December – City Hearts named in the President’s Committee on The Arts and Humanities Report, “Coming Up Taller” (one of only 200 organizations listed nationwide) “Juvenile Crime Prevention Grant” created with Para Los Ninos and Office of Child Abuse Prevention providing after school classes for children ages 6-17 and first-time offenders diversion programs.
City Hearts recognized by the National Council On Crime and Delinquency honored with their annual Prevention for a Safer Society (PASS) Award.
City Hearts creates and implements ALITE (Arts and Literacy for Tomorrow’s Education) which serves multiple learning styles. City Hearts teachers are trained to bring this creative method to their classes.City Hearts provides a free Summer Camp of the Arts providing over 1000 children, ages 5-11, with daily arts classes.
Sherry and Bob Jason and City Hearts receive the inaugural “Sunny Days Award” presented by Sesame Street Parent’s Magazine and Children’s Television Network-one of 8 national recipients and only arts organization honored.
City Hearts free Summer Camp of the Arts for 1000 children ages 5-11.
City Hearts profiled on CNN Classroom and the Oprah Winfrey Show.
City Hearts’ Youth Mentor Program is featured in Newsweek Magazine’s business publication.
The Shakespeare Challenge begins as a part of the ALITE Program. Shakespeare classes teach literacy enhancement with an in-depth study of Shakespeare’s plays.
Photography program begins for youth on probation in Van Nuys and downtown Los Angeles.
City Hearts honored as one of ten organizations in the country-and the only organization in California-chosen to receive “Conflict Resolution Through The Arts” training supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the United States Department of Justice.
One year anniversary of highly successful “Expanding Horizons” Shakespeare Challenge program in Oxnard
Oxnard Shakespeare students featured on Channel 3 news.