What We Offer
Here at Chrysalis you will find a personalized arts-based learning and development experience bursting with essential components to healthy personal development and overall well-being, including life, light, beauty, creativity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, and unconditional love.
Our experiences are designed to be as free as possible from things that could be destructive to the healthy development or overall well-being of our students, including judgement, competition, fear, self-consciousness, gossiping, exclusion, cliques, and inappropriate content.
We primarily serve students ages 8-18, so far mostly from the greater Silicon Valley area.
We offer a dynamic range of activities including classes, camps, outreach experiences, theatre productions, and online learning resources.
Creative | Inclusive | Nurturing | Affirming | Community-Building | Led By Faith
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INNOVATIVE BUSINESS MODEL: PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT VS PERSONAL PERFORMANCE
While all youth arts programs aspire to build up young people, the traditional youth performing arts business model is ultimately based around two intertwined things:
1. Which students perform the best at auditions (and in shows).
2. Impressing potential ticket buyers, donors, and sponsors by creating the best possible shows by any means necessary.
This approach has the natural consequence of disproportionately benefitting the top 10% of students, while the other 90% get a lesser experience with less stage time, less time in the spotlight, less personalized instruction from staff, less praise and applause and awards and other affirmations, and less overall chances to grow beyond their current limits, while still being charged the same price. This approach also tends to create a destructively hierarchical, competitive, judgmental, and high-pressure environment, leaving many students wondering, "What's wrong with me? Why am I not good enough?"
Our program initially started with a modified version of this business model, but over the course of our first five years, it quickly became clear that this model was not in the best interests of our students, and that it clashed with our goals and commitments. With a lot of time, research, collaboration, and seeking divine guidance through prayer, a new business model was developed, which we are still building on to this day.
Our innovative new business model is based around one simple question, one all-important priority:
1. What is best for the healthy development of each and every one of our students?
The new business model that was created proved to be far healthier and more effective, bringing out the best in our students and our program as a whole. Students who were overlooked and under-developed at other programs came to Chrysalis, had their potential carefully nurtured, and then went on to thrive both at Chrysalis and at other theatre programs. Our students ended each production happier, healthier, more confident, more comfortable, and more free from self-consciousness and fear.
Here are a few of the elements we rely on to make that happen...
"CHRYSALIS" ENVIRONMENT - We strive to build and maintain a "chrysalis" environment and culture that provides a loving, nurturing experience to help people blossom and thrive, similar to how a physical chrysalis provides the right environment to help a caterpillar blossom into a butterfly. Our low-pressure, judgment-free, highly-affirming chrysalis environment enables people to engage fully and freely in the process of learning, developing, and creating, without being held back by fear or self-consciousness.
PLAY-BASED LEARNING - Our learning and development activities are based on the concept of play-based learning. We make learning so engaging and fun that students often don't even realize just how much they are growing! Making learning safe and fun makes it possible for us to help our students to stretch their limits and overcome challenges and take the next steps in their development in very healthy ways. Over the course of their experience at Chrysalis, our students become more and more free from fear, self-consciousness, self-criticism, perfectionism, and other destructive mindsets. Our approach to play-based learning leads to creative arts students who are comfortable, confident, vibrant, authentic, skilled, dynamic, happy, and free.
MIXED AGE GROUPS - We value finding ways for people of differing ages and experience levels to learn and create together. We find that mixing age groups provides unique learning opportunities that are beneficial for everyone. This also eliminates some negative behaviors and cultures that can come with narrower age groups. Sometimes we even allow parents and local adult performers to perform in our shows along with our students.
SMALLER GROUPS, BIGGER IMPACT - We strive to include all students who wish to participate, but we place them into small groups of 15-30 people so that every student has plenty of opportunities to learn, grow, and shine, and so that each group can develop a special sort of family bond. Smaller groups provide students with more personalized instruction from our staff, more stage time, more time in the spotlight, drastically less of the typical destructive competition and judgment, and more chances for our staff to notice and address the challenges that are keeping students from realizing their fullest potential.
CUSTOMIZED FOR ACCOMMODATION - Every Chrysalis experience is customized around each small group of participants, so we are able to accommodate a wide range of needs and provide a successful experience for a wide range of people. Our staff are constantly seeking to learn and grow and diversify their skillsets, and our leaders are always looking for ways to add new staff members who are uniquely qualified to serve particular groups of students.
INCLUSIVE PROGRAMMING - Our programming is specifically designed to be accessible and beneficial to young people of all races, abilities, experience levels, and incomes, and those of all different backgrounds and beliefs that can be safely accommodated without endangering our participants, our program, and our partner organizations and facilities. If at any point there are students we are unable to serve, we will strongly consider adding that to our priority list of ways we will seek to improve our services.
HEALTHY CONTENT - We are committed to producing content that is as safe and healthy as possible for our students, and which contains positive, uplifting morals and messages. See our Content Policies page for more information about this.
UNIFIED AS A "FAMILY" - We strive to provide the kind of experience that heals and bridges divides, melts down the "walls" around and between people, and unites people of all different beliefs and backgrounds for a common purpose built around shared values. Through our experiences, people of all different types grow closer together, including students building healthy friendships, staff members working together in unity, and family members all growing closer together.
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As a Christian ministry, our programs are modeled after the greatest artist and creator of all, the one who created the stars and the flowers and every living thing. We believe that God designed each and every person Himself, creating each of them special in their own unique ways.
However, our programming is not centered around traditional religious practices like studying religious texts or singing religious songs.
Our staff members lead our program through the guidance of God and through the use of their God-given gifts and callings, and we may offer optional prayer/worship times before some activities for those who wish to participate. Our leadership training may also include Christian topics.
However, our main ministry goal is for our participants to experience a touch of God's Kingdom through...
- The way we treat people and help them on their own life journeys
- The kind of community we build
- The kind of stories/messages we produce
- The way we conduct our business and run our programs
- Our fundamental values
- Our policies and procedures
- Biblical principles brought to life (i.e. creation, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, etc).