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"There is no success without struggle" is the theme of a mural unveiled in June at the Challenger Memorial Youth Center, a juvenile probation facility in Lancaster.

At Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles, a mural titled "Wall of Humanity" now adorns the facility.

Both are the culmination of eight months of hands-on visual art and creative writing workshops made possible through a partnership among LACOE, the County Probation Dept. and the nonprofit Theatre of Hearts/Youth First.

At least 150 incarcerated students benefited from the workshops and mural projects led by professional artists in the 2016-17 school year.

Students in LACOE's McAuliffe School at Challenger took inspiration from their study of the book "Enrique's Journey," which tells the story of a Honduran boy's quest to find his mother in the U.S.

"The students felt a strong connection to the young man in the story," said Sheila Scott-Wilkinson, Theatre of Hearts executive director. "They saw a relationship to their own lives in the images of the mural as symbols of what it takes to succeed in life."

At LACOE's Central Juvenile Hall School, "students' own creative writings inspired the mural themes of education, family, science and the universe. They were excited to envision a world of endless possibilities and to see a productive future for themselves," Scott-Wilkinson said.

Added Principal Harry Obiako, "The mural project at Central allowed students to take ownership of something positive and helped unleash creativity and hidden talent they did not realize they possessed."

Both murals connect to themes embodied in LACOE's Road To Success Academy instructional approach now being implemented throughout its Juvenile Court Schools. The themes include identity, transformation, social responsibility, perseverance, empowerment and resilience.

To date, 19 large-scale murals have been created by students at juvenile halls and camps around the county through the program, which receives direct funding from the California Arts Council JumpStArts initiative and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as partial funding from LACOE.

Since 1994, Theatre of Hearts/Youth First has partnered with LACOE and the Probation Dept. to provide multidisciplinary standards-based arts education programs to students in Juvenile Court Schools and Alternative and Special Education programs.

Photo 1: "No success without struggle" is the theme of a new student-created mural at the Challenger Memorial Youth Center in Lancaster. 

Photo 2: At Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles, a mural titled "Wall of Humanity" now adorns the facility.

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