Investment propels PRYAC toward expanded services and greater impact on children’s lives

PASO ROBLES — Must! Charities recently announced the Youth Arts Leadership Development Project, an investment in the people and potential of Paso Robles Youth Arts Center (Youth Arts). 

The initiative comes as Youth Arts reaches a key juncture in its 25-year commitment to helping children thrive through no-cost arts education. During a time of exponential growth, increased demand for services, and ambitious vision for serving county youth, the center receives a profound boost toward next-level success and sustainability from Must! Charities’ investment. 

Through the project, Youth Arts’ governing board and staff will engage in professional development with Must! Charities to organize, align, and develop strategies leading to increased capacity for children and families served. The work also will assist in building infrastructure to serve Youth Arts as it continues its forward progress and prepares to achieve its financial goals, increase services, and identify new opportunities to bring the creativity and passion of its team to life.


“We recognized and admired their desire to align staff and board’s vision for Youth Arts,” says Randy Gray, community projects manager at Must! Charities. “Embarking on this journey is not for the faint of heart, but from experience, when Must! Charities invests in the people of organizations, there is no stopping the potential of organizations.”

The vision for Youth Arts is clear: Providing a safe, nurturing outlet for kids of all ages to deal with modern pressures through afterschool art classes. Confidence, teamwork, empathy, imagination, assertiveness, connections with others, self-discipline: These are life skills provably linked to children’s participation in the arts. 

“We are incredibly grateful to Must! Charities for making this investment in our children’s future,” says Ann Berry-Gallegos, executive director at Youth Arts. Currently, the center’s best-in-class artist/instructors accommodate more than 200 classes and camps. 

“We know the demand is there,” Berry-Gallegos adds. “We can only serve the increasing number of children hoping to participate by expanding our capacity, programming, and financial sustainability. This initiative goes a long way toward making that happen.” 

“Studies show the earlier children are exposed to the arts, the greater the impact on their self-esteem, academic performance, and opportunities for growth,” says Becky Gray, executive director of Must! Charities. “We envision Youth Arts applying their innate ability to energize the passion of youth in arts with their strong desire to create future opportunities that they don’t yet know exist.”