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In 1979, dedicated youth activist Rita Jackson established NEPAG to provide performing and visual arts opportunities to youngsters living East of the River. Soon it became clear that escalating neighborhood violence and drug use meant that kids needed more: discipline, commitment, academic support. So NEPAG became a safe haven where kids could prepare for life while exploring the arts and enriching their academic skills. Now, 6 days a week during the school year, and in a 9-week arts camp, youngsters ages 3-18 receive instruction in dance, voice, drama, percussion, and painting, woven together with literacy and computation skills. To help them cope with daily challenges, conflict resolution and problem-solving skills are part of the mix. 250 performances and 2 major shows a year engage a cast of 75 young people and make cultural events available to a community that would otherwise have little access to them. When you contribute to NEPAG, you give the kids of Ward 7 a chance to succeed at life ... and prove that art can heal.