TSG Art-Based SEL Program

Our trauma sensitive arts programs combines Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mindfulness practices to empower young people to cope with trauma, build resilience, and practice empathy. By identifying, expressing, and sharing their meaning of ‘good’ through art, students learn the power of positive expression and connection. Bring the ‘simple good’ to your community by contacting us today!

The Problem

The World Health Organization estimates that up to 1 billion children between the ages of 2-17 years old have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence, or neglect within the past year. Youth victimization and segregation negatively impact our youth on a global scale, and the rise of economic depression, political conflict and societal pressures worsen the conditions children face every day. The terrible conditions created by these issues have caused ⅔ of youth to be exposed to trauma in various forms, and as many as 75% of those in need of help have few or no options for intervention.

Continuous unaddressed trauma in a young person’s life can lead to a lack of hope, and perpetuate the inequality and violence found in communities around the world. Experts agree that trauma can deeply impact healthy growth and development and negatively influence the behavior of young people.

In the U.S. alone, 50% of adolescents meet the criteria for mental health disorders and 50% of students 14 years or older with mental illness drop out of school. Our global Mental Health crisis is only getting more intense, and continues to create new issues in our education systems. Studies have shown that early intervention is essential to address trauma in our world’s youth, and can empower them with tools to overcome future obstacles.

The Solution

The arts are an outlet for cognitive development and self expression.

For 11 years, we have equipped students to leverage asset-based thinking, mindfulness, empathy, and awareness to act as globally competent advocates for good in our world. We facilitate Arts-based Social-Emotional Learning programs at schools in Chicago, New York, and internationally.

Our unique, trauma-informed curriculum, developed by licensed educators and specialists, was designed to align with:

  • Illinois Arts Standards
  • Common Core ELA Standards
  • Targeted 5-Essentials outcomes

We deliver our curriculum using the following art mediums: photography, painting, drawing, mixed media art, and mural creation.

Take a look at our process below!



Exploration of Positivity Around the World

Through our global photo blog, people from across the globe are sharing their ideas of the 'simple good’ in order to inspire our students via photography and storytelling. This helps students  discover a world beyond their own but also challenges them to think about their own meaning of the 'simple good’ to empower themselves and impact their communities.


Expressive Creation Through the Arts

Create, create, create! We analyze what we learned about the 'simple good' around the world and have our students create artwork that demonstrates their representation of the 'simple good'. We use various artistic mediums to achieve this such as paint, mixed media and photography.

A girl at an art gallery showcase.

Public Showcase in Creative Institutions

There are some things we don’t learn by hearing – we learn through experience. Each program ends with a final art showcase where our students present their art to the public. Showcases expose our young people to art, career paths, public speaking and they're challenged to broaden their perspectives about what is possible. Partners also receive meaningful opportunities to connect with our students and support their development.

What is sel?

According to CASEL Social Emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Each of the 5 SEL Core Competencies can be found in each of our curriculum steps as shown in the infographic below.

Program process & Pillars

Our Arts-based SEL Program is layered with trauma recovery, mindfulness practices and social emotional learning (SEL) principles to equip our youth to become self-aware, empowered, and positive leaders of the future!

Experiential learning

Students engage with professional artists, explore communities to find their artistic subjects, and experience creative institutions first hand. We end all programs with a public showcase hosted at agencies, companies and other innovative spaces that bring new possibilities to the youth we serve.

Social Emotional learning

SEL competencies are woven through each of our program process steps. Meditation is a self-management practice and by defining their meaning of ‘good’ and discovering it within themselves, students build self-awareness. Social realizations, awareness, and relationship building through dialogue are just a few of the ways our program implements the core of SEL.


Classes begin with a meditation session to help our students become present and ultimately build their ability to practice this skills whenever they need it.

arts And expression

Students are tasked throughout the program to create a final work to visually communicate the meaning of ‘good’ that they found. Using photography, painting and mixed media, students positively express themselves in order to impact the world around them.

Global competency

Students learn about the meaning of ‘good’ from others around the world through our photo blog. We explore regions around the world and discuss the differences that make us unique and the commonalities we share. Through this dialogue, students feel a deeper connection to others in parts of the world they have never been.

Bring Art-based SEL to Your Community

Contact us to learn how you can bring our trauma-informed arts program to your community!

Get involved

Help spread the 'simple good' by getting involved with our work!

Partner With Us

Connect, support, and learn from our students by hosting a showcase at your company. Spread the 'simple good’ and join the movement!


Get Involved

Make impact by volunteering at one of our upcoming events, youth showcases, or initiatives.


Your Support

The continuation of our subsidized programming is dependent on contributions from artists, organizations, and supporters like you!