Bret Lieberman, Executive Director of YIC surrounded by art that has been produced by YIC artist. Gilbert BernalThe Signal

Yes I Can of Santa Clarita expands outreach

The Yes I Can, or YIC, organization, a nonprofit that looks to build a feeling of inclusion in the community, is scheduled to present a free music and art show coordinated by program participants Saturday, Sept. 7.

Yes I Can Unity Through Music & Education, a nonprofit organization based in Santa Clarita since 2009 working with individuals with disabilities, expanded its mission to help prepare college students and young adults with disabilities to find careers in the music and film entertainment industry. 

Event flyer for An Evening with Chali 2na. Courtesy art/YIC

Members of YIC are kicking off the growth of their outreach with live music and art performances scheduled to take place at ToolboxLA in Chatsworth from 7 to 11 p.m.

YIC participants were involved in several aspects of producing the event including contracts and venue selection along with responsibilities during the art show.

Jake Arvizu, photographer and Santa Clarita resident, shared how YIC has helped him and expressed his excitement over the chance to practice his craft at the upcoming event.

 “Learning about growth mindset has been helpful to me — I have learned that different mindsets can benefit oneself, and will help you be successful,” said Arvizu. “I am looking forward to taking pictures of our guests and documenting the art show through the lens of my camera.” 

Guest at the free music and art show can expect to see and hear art, photography and music of hip hop legend Chali 2na of Jurassic 5/Ozomatli along with special performances by Tyrone’s Jacket, George Spits and other surprise entertainers.

Bret Lieberman, executive director for YIC, highlighted the organization’s newfound mission with college-age students with disabilities who have a passion to find their home in the entertainment industry.

“I am extremely excited with the work that we are doing right now by helping out these young adults maximize their skill sets to find the right career teaching them that once you find what you are passionate about, it no longer feels like work,” said Liberman. “We have built a brilliant and compassionate team of credentialed counselors, instructors, assistants to our executive board of directors.”

YIC is a yearlong program that teaches the 21st century skills that are needed in today’s workforce, along with both soft/hard social skills, according to YIC staff.

Kirsten Fitzpatrick, YIC deputy director, discussed the goal in training individuals with disabilities to find careers that will provide a livable income.

“YIC believes individuals with disabilities should have the same right as non-disabled individuals to have access to a full range of available employment opportunities and to earn a living wage in a job of their choosing based on their talents, skills and interests.” said Fitzpatrick. “This includes access to training and employment services to aid individuals with disabilities in obtaining employment earning a livable wage in a field of their interest and choosing.”

Employment of entertainment occupations is projected to grow 10% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations, according to YIC personnel.

“The current low participation rate of individuals with disabilities in the workforce is unacceptable. Access to real jobs with real wages is essential if individuals with disabilities are to avoid lives of poverty, dependence, and isolation,” Fitzpatrick said.  

YIC provides its consumers with career exploration and job shadowing opportunities with all the major players and leaders in the entertainment fields.

YIC is scheduled to hold classes at COC starting spring 2020, fully funded by North Los Angeles Regional Center, and is expected to be at zero cost for consumers.

There is currently a waiting list to get into the program, but anyone interested can sign up on the Yes I Can website by visiting yicunity.org

Anyone looking for information or to RSVP for the music and art event click here.

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