“Arvestaran” Creative Development Center
“Arvestaran” Creative Development Center
Arvestaran is an organization with an eye on the support of people with autism. It is a place where people on the spectrum of all ages, as well as the wider community, come together to build a more inclusive society. By providing opportunities for developmental growth through creative therapy and employment, we improve their living, social, and self-advocacy skills, making them more independent and strong. As a special focus, we support teenagers in transition to adulthood. Our free of charge and personalized services have made the programs accessible for more people in need. This in turn has led to success and a strong community, enabling the recent opportunity for Arvestaran’s first location.
Our dream is to help teenagers and young adults with autism and other developmental disorders become more confident, more independent, and more included in society. We want to achieve this by providing creative therapy programs and job opportunities, and involving them in society.
The problem we are trying to solve:
One of our biggest challenges is that children and people with autism and other developmental disorders aren’t fully supported yet in the nation. Financially, socially and emotionally they are lacking help. With employment difficulties, low financial compensations, and little understanding and acceptance by society, this vulnerable group finds itself in a rather challenging position. This makes it difficult for this group to participate in society and having a sense of belonging within the society. Another big issue we’re trying to better is to prepare the youth for life within society, whereas other autism center's are more focused on the care of the youth solely within the center. The financial, emotional and social problems are affecting our community on a daily basis. With a compensation of less than $50 per month (only when the child as well as one of the parents aren’t working), most of our community’s families are at a financial disadvantage. This is the same reason why we are providing our services for free. Even though this does help them, they still experience little support from other people. This problem too we want to combat through raising awareness in society.
The solution we are proposing:
Arvestaran forms a bridge to overcome the financial, emotional and social difficulties. Since we are providing our services for free, this is helping the parents with the financial struggles. Besides that, our center is a place where parents can come together and receive our and each other’s support. This leaves us with the social problems, which we try to resolve by providing developmental help and job opportunities, which are hard to come by for this group of people. We don’t just provide the job opportunities, we guide them through the various jobs and coach them. This way they receive attention and care needed for them to fulfil tasks more independently at a certain point. It is important for us that we integrate the youth into regular daily life settings, so that they can find their way confidently in day-to-day life and society. Some of the changes consist of the following. The youth at our center learn first and foremost to communicate and socialize. The therapies they receive help them express themselves and give them confidence once they see their self-made creations. Coaching and supporting them in regular jobs will include them in society and make them a part of it. Our next steps are continuing with the activities we are doing now, and most importantly: expanding them. We want to sell our breads, toys, bamboo straws, and other creations in higher quantities and to more places. This way we can increase the salaries of our young adults and their independency.
What success looks like for us:
Success in Arvestaran looks like this: there are regular and several qualitative creative therapy programs available for the youth, the community is strong and growing, the young adults and their parents have more stable jobs and flows of incomes, and the youth are learning and developing, enjoying their time and feeling home. A bigger scope of success is when our youth are feeling and being more included in society.
Where we are are based:
Funding we are applying for:
$14,000 - $15,000 per year
How this funding will help us achieve our goals:
Arvestaran is at the present moment financially dependent on its passionate supporters and founders. Despite these appreciated and good intentions, this is sadly not maintainable for long-term sustainability. As a result, we are in great need of funding. The funding will cover our rental costs, which will enable our organization to further exist and will leave us more time to concentrate on the creative and developmental aspects at our center.
How this funding will strengthen our group:
The funding will strengthen our organization, because it will allow us more time on developing more qualitative programs and it will enable us to fully dedicate our time on our youth at the center. The overall quality of our center will improve if we become financially more sustainable.
How we gain by being a Spark Fund partner:
Becoming a Spark Fund partner will take a lot of our current logistical worries away and help us concentrate on that which we really want to do and achieve. For the coming two years, Arvestaran will be able to further exist, because he grant will permit us the opportunity to cover our rental costs.
How we would like to spend a grant through the Spark Fund:
If we receive $15,000 a year, this will help us cover our biggest expense: our rent. Our center is an essential part of our organization, without which we couldn’t offer our programs and the workplaces for the young adults. We create, work, connect and learn here. The grant will help cover most of our rental costs, which will give us more time and space to concentrate on the development of our center and of our community. Our yearly rental costs are 7.800.000 Armenian drams, which is around $15.785 (monthly: 650.000 Armenian drams = $1315). Besides covering our rental costs, we will be able to lower the production costs through covering the rent, which will leave a larger margin we can use to improve the wages of our working young adults.
Our Annual Income:
The income received from payed services was 1,550,000 drams ($3140). The income received from AGBU grant was 1,600,000 drams ($3240). Donations received from different supporters totaled 870,000 drams ($1760).
Our Organization Structure:
In our organization, the founders work together and in accordance with the parents and the youth. Together with the parents we discuss the tasks that need to be done and agree upon the responsibilities each individual is willing take on themselves. We support the youth in their independence and in the development of their decision making skills. Together we discuss new ideas and share our inputs in the creative, executive, directional and financial decisions. There is a lot of freedom in our activities: youth and parents can choose with which activities they want to participate. It is important for us that the young adults are enjoying their time here and that the parents feel supported.