top of page

OUR HISTORY

FOUNDED IN 2008

CLICK PHOTOS ABOVE FOR VIDEO PRESENTATIONS

 "As a woman of faith, I recognize God's important role in the foundation of C.A.E. The organization is a

manifestation of divine inspiration ordained by God, led by His guidance, and built on a foundation of love.

I am merely the instrument chosen by God to gather like-minded individuals to implement His vision and create positive change in the culture."

 

B.J. Pleasant, Founder & CEO

B.J. Pleasant founded C.A.E. in 2008 in response to the lack of alternative learning programs, poor academic performance in schools, and rising violence in Stark County, Ohio. Recognizing that underserved children were most affected by these issues, C.A.E. set out to provide a coalition-based mentoring arts academy focused on a three-prong family, school, and community engagement approach.

In 2009, C.A.E. obtained its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the I.R.S. and began offering arts-based programs to the public in 2010. In the summer of that year, the organization launched a theatre arts program for 50 underserved youth. The production of "The Wiz" was a huge success and sold out both performances with 2,200 attendees. This success led to multiple requests for C.A.E. to provide arts enrichment and later media and technology programming from local schools and community organizations.

 

Initially, C.A.E. offered performing arts and business management programming for youth between the ages of 13 and 18. In 2011, C.A.E. partnered with Garfield Academy to provide after-school enrichment programming. In year two, C.A.E. found a new home in the "west wing" of Garfield Academy to provide daily enrichment and in-school support services. Through our program delivery and analysis of student performance data, C.A.E. identified skill gaps that the Organization was uniquely equipped to address. This data showed an overall average increase of 34% in Science, Reading, and Math performance testing results, a 5% increase in attendance rates, and an 11.4% increase in positive student behavior. Building on the success of its program implementation, C.A.E. later expanded its reach to impact a broader range of services for children and adults between the ages of 7 and 55+ with the skills and training needed to compete in a technology-driven work environment. In the summer of 2011, C.A.E. produced an original musical, "Phat Albert," involving over 75 underserved youth and adult participants. The successful production was attended by 1,200 people and led to the organization providing after-school programming at Hartford Middle School in the Canton City School District.

 

In 2012, a series of youth homicides affected the Stark County community. In response, Mrs. Pleasant created the Students Taking Ownership Mentoring Project (S.T.O.M.P.), an antiviolence initiative in collaboration with the Canton City School District, the Canton City Police Department, and 46 faith-based and community organizations. As project lead, she formed a council of youth leaders to address issues such as bullying and violence, public policy, self-esteem, and access to 21st-century learning technologies, impacting approximately 152 students each year. S.T.O.M.P. is now recognized as C.A.E.'s flagship youth program.

In 2014, CAE recognized the high prevalence of mental health issues such as trauma, depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, caused by the impact of significant industrial closures during the 1980s. In response, CAE expanded its services to the county and began implementing trauma-informed practices for its staff to build on participants' strengths and address the community's specific needs. As a result of this approach, CAE became a certified trauma-informed organization in 2020, equipped to provide effective support and services for individuals and families impacted by trauma, substance use disorder, and other mental health issues.

 

C.A.E.'s experience with alternative learning led the Organization to explore how community professionals could collaborate to create a significant education and support hub for developing non-traditional strategies that would best benefit individuals needing training and support services. Over the past decade, C.A.E. has refined its coalition-based approach to mobilize community professionals to engage in public action and volunteering to address issues such as high crime rates, high unemployment rates, high drop-out rates, chronic disease, mental health, and substance use disorders.

Additional Milestones:

  • 2014

    • Established its Farrell (Mercer County), Pennsylvania location

    • Formed One Kingdom Heart House, Inc. nonprofit subsidiary in Pennsylvania, a transitional house for women and children.

  • 2015

    • Developed four global service divisions: Performing Arts; Media & Technology; Health & Wellness; and Education & Development Divisions, as a framework to C.A.E.'s curriculum design and social and economic influence for the common good.

  • 2016

    • Launched C.A.E. satellite offices in the District of Columbia and New York:

      • Workforce development courses are provided for adult students in the Community College Preparatory Academy in Washington, DC.

      • In partnership with the Buffalo Soldiers Association at West Point Academy, C.A.E. began offering S.T.E.M. summer camp workshops.

    • Formed C.A.E. Education & Training Center, Inc. nonprofit subsidiary in Pennsylvania to specialize in career and professional development services

  • 2017

    • Launched The Divergent Project - a cognitive-behavioral change system for juveniles and adults at risk of or involved in the justice system.

  • 2019

    • Moved corporate headquarters to Farrell, Pennsylvania

    • Formed C.A.E. T.V. Productions, LLC for-profit Pennsylvania subsidiary

      • Produced C.A.E.’s Arts-N-Motion web docuseries

  • 2020

    •  Launched C.A.E.'s Virtual Learning Academy

  • 2021

    • Launched C.A.E. Marketplace™ Network

    • Developed C.A.E.’s Resilient Church Equipping Solution™, a trauma-Informed faith-based leadership course.

  • 2022​

    • Opened C.A.E.'s Arts Academy & Sports Complex satellite location​

Today, C.A.E. provides its participants with a variety of arts-infused online and on-demand services delivered in a flexible schedule and small group setting. Experienced and professional instructors from our communities work closely with youth and adult learners to help them make informed educational decisions that align with their academic and career goals. This approach ultimately leads to positive changes in the community's economic, cultural, and social landscape. In addition, C.A.E. provides case management services to its participants, supporting them with the necessary social and emotional support crucial for healing and overall well-being across generations.

bottom of page