Our Story

RHAP began in the summer of 2006 with just one tutor (Deirdre Swords) and three students meeting in Red Hook's Coffey Park on Saturday afternoons to make art together.

We now have two levels of visual art tutoring, two levels of music tutoring, homework help / academic tutoring four or five afternoons a week and, as of 2016, RHAP is made up of approximately 20 tutors and 30 youth. RHAP's Success Stories: RHAP has helped two of our oldest students apply to and get accepted to college! One is at SUNY-Oneonta studying psychology and art therapy and the other is at SUNY - FIT studying fine art and illustration. RHAP's first generation of students (after working with RHAP tutors for three years) gained acceptance to the Fiorello LaGuardia High School of the Arts, the High School of Art and Design and the Edward R. Murrow High School. In 2012, RHAP's founder, Deirdre Swords, was honored with the Brooklyn Community Board Six Robert Acito Award for Youth Involvement. In 2015 RHAP's first student, Tashawn Davis, was honored with one gold key for portfolio, and five gold keys, two silver keys and two honorable mentions for individual pieces in the regional level of Scholastic's Art and Writing Competition. In addition, he received four silver keys and two gold keys on the national level of the same competition - the most awards out of any winner!

Our Programs

Music Program

We have two levels of music classes. One for our students aged 7 to 11 and the other for students aged 12 – 18.

Most of our music lessons combine group singing, beat-making and electronic music production with recording. We also have tutors giving one-on-one lessons in piano, ukulele and electric guitar. As in our visual art classes, our lesson plans balance skill-building with play and critical thinking.

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Stress Management

Everyone needs a little help coping with stress. RHAP’s Stress Management workshops teach our students how to recognize stress and develop personalized self-care practices. RHAP provides healthy alternatives to risky behaviors by supporting positive goals.

Visual Art Program

We have two levels of visual art classes. One for our students aged 7 to 11 and the other for students aged 12 – 18.

When a student feels a strong need to be self-directed we, with a few small exceptions, respect their wishes whole-heartedly. In addition, we have lesson plans that balance skill-building with play and critical thinking.

Homework Help

“Believe in yourself and you can do unbelievable things.”

We offer homework help four afternoons a week during the school year. Our volunteer tutors work with students one-on-one. When homework is finished we work with some of the students in academic areas that need extra attention. We follow our students’ grades and when needed we meet with parent/guardians and school guidance counselors.

Meet the Management Team

Deirdre Swords

Deirdre Swords

RHAP Executive Director

Tiffiney Davis

Tiffiney Davis

RHAP Managing Director