Timeline

2008


Founding

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Mirror Image Arts is established to “encourage positive body image and self-worth by creating an emotional connection through theatrical performance”.

2009


Non-profit Status

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Mirror Image Arts achieves its 501(c)3 status.

2010


Will Travel

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Breaking the Silence, a play featuring the stories of people who have experienced eating disorders, travels to schools all across the state of Colorado.

2011


Decline

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Due to lack of income diversity, and the founder’s personal and professional priorities shifting, Mirror Image Arts begins to decline.

2012


Transition

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Through the strength and resolve of the founder, new leadership is identified. Mirror Image Arts will live on.

2013


Reemergence

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A new mission, logo, and 90 min program are designed in collaboration with teachers, administrators, parents and youth.

2014


Depth

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In order to effect lasting change, more time with young people is needed. Mirror Image Arts launches it’s 6 week “Your Voice” program.

2015


New Beginnings

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Mirror Image Arts hires a full-time Executive Director, Andrea Rabold.

2016


Overcoming

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The Mirror Image Arts team begins its long journey to overcome its income diversity challenges as it moves from Start-up to Growth.

2017


Hitting a Stride

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Mirror Image Arts is led by 3 full time employees; 12 contractors, 8 board members including a youth board member; and 15 dedicated volunteers.

2018


Growth

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Mirror Image Arts adds three new programs to its lineup - “It Starts With Us”, “Restorative Theatre”, and “Rehearsal for Reality”.

2019


Looking Forward

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Building our strategic plan that will envision a future for Mirror Image Arts years to come, including a new program for K-2nd grade youth.

Founding Story

Mirror Image Arts was established as a 501(c)(3) organization in 2008 by Erin Jorgensen to “encourage positive body image and self-worth by creating an emotional connection through performance”. A survivor of an eating disorder herself, Jorgensen knew first hand the power of theatre to process and heal. In partnership with the Eating Disorder Center of Denver, Mirror Image Arts toured “Breaking the Silence” to Denver metro and rural Colorado high schools.

By 2011, the organization was in decline due to lack of income diversity. Jorgensen, whose personal and professional priorities were shifting, chose to hand the organization over to a new executive director, Andrea Rabold. Rabold put the organization in stasis until a new board of directors was assembled and a community needs assessment of young people, parents, and educators could be completed.

The assessment identified bullying as a root cause of eating disorders. The link is in the statistics, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that victims of bullying suffer higher rates of behavioral, psychological, and emotional problems that can lead to dangerous consequences such as self-harm and suicide.

We then began to research preventative methods. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the world’s leading social-emotional organization, social-emotional learning (SEL) proves imperative to reducing bullying behaviors. SEL skills include self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills, and decision making. SEL also helps young people to thrive in social and academic environments. Additionally, research of young people demonstrates how activities and pedagogy associated with theatre education prove capable of supporting SEL growth through increasing belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. For example, students who are a part of a theatre class or program often feel a sense of belonging because they have shared experiences with other participants (Brym, 2006).

Based on this research the organization re-emerged in 2013 with a new mission built to ensure a sustainable future: “Mirror Image Arts uses theatre as language to inspire dialogue, encourage awareness and promote action in order to build a strong, compassionate and empowered community.”

Our current programs engage young people and youth development professionals in interactive theatre performances and workshops that support social-emotional learning. We work in partnership with schools, community organizations, and juvenile detention centers.

The success of our work comes from combining SEL research, innovative artistic methods, and evidence-based practices including: Positive Youth Development, Trauma Informed Care and Theatre of the Oppressed.

In 2018, Mirror Image Arts became firmly ensconced in the growth stage, serving more than 1200 young people and youth development professionals annually. The demand for our work is pushing on staff capacity. In response, our leadership team has diversified income streams and is now focusing on building the organizational supports that will ensure we thrive for many years to come.

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