Coast Hills

With Great Arts Comes Great Confidence

by Joshua D. Scroggin
February 29, 2016
Gabe is playing Peter Parker/Spider-Man in PRYAF musical

Like a lot of kids when they first get to the Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation, Estey started out a little soft-spoken.

She sang quietly. Then she got comfortable warbling in front of classmates. Soon, that comfort bloomed into full-blown confidence belting out before a crowd.

Now, Estey’s father Sean says the self-assurance has carried over into her home life, too.

That’s one of the greatest byproducts of providing visual and performing arts education to children, PRYAF Executive Director Mindy Sisemore said. Sure, the curriculum enriches their lives with culture and opens their minds to new ideas. It also arms them with the confidence to become better all-around students and people.  

“This is a safe place for kids to be who they are and not be bullied or judged,” Sisemore said. “They gain a level of confidence here that helps improve their skills at school and at home.”

PosterLater this month, Estey will be playing the female lead, M.J. Watson, in the PRYAF original production “Rise Above, a Spider-Man Story.” The Broadway-inspired musical features a cast of 40 students, who also collaborated to write the script and select the music.

You can catch any of three performances on March 18 and 19. Tickets are $5 to $10, and you can reserve yours by calling (805) 238-5825.

The CoastHills Community Foundation is a proud sponsor of PRYAF, which is about much more than stage plays.

In its 15th year, the after-school program has helped keep arts alive in North San Luis Obispo County as public education arts programs have been increasingly cut from schools.

There are classes in musical instruments, breakdancing, ballet, writing, art, drama, singing and more.

Best of all, PRYAF is free to all kids from ages 5 to 18. It doesn’t matter where they live or go to school. As long as children can get to the facility in time for class, they are welcome to sign up.

The 10,000-square-foot facility serves nearly 1,500 children a year. And its ever-growing list of offerings is taught by 19 different instructors.

The program is completely community-funded, which means it runs on donations from local businesses and individuals. Because it does not receive government grants, PRYAF needs organizations like the CoastHills Community Foundation and people like you to get involved.

For more sponsorship information, please visit

If you know of a local nonprofit in need of support, check out the CoastHills Community Foundation's Community Action Sponsorships. Each month, our committee awards sponsorships of up to $500 per organization.


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