Using the arts to enhance youth development and build community.
Why They Rock:
- Arts-Kids runs after-school groups once a week in Summit County elementary schools and Arts-Teens groups in both middle schools. The program is FREE to all participants!
- The after-school youth development program is based on the belief that all children will thrive if they have a safe place for self-expression, not always found at home, in school, or elsewhere in the community.
- Arts-Kids and the state Juvenile Justice Dept. are collaborating to give Utah’s incarcerated teens the chance to improve their life skills and self-esteem.
Art-Kids rolled out the red carpet and turned 50Give into a celebrity…Lindsay Lohan granted us permission. I arrived in the night after 12 hours of driving and was welcomed to amazing accommodations from Nate (Art-Kids board member)…I felt like I was at the Ritz: walk-in shower, giant comfy bed, and a robot butler (no, but the room was paradise).
Early next morning the founder Pat Sanger scooped me up for a radio interview at KPCW, then treated me to a ‘locals’ breakfast, and provided a tour of the mountain with a finale stop at Deer Valley Montage (Dear Montage, Please donate $1 a click towards 50Give – thank you).
Onward to Art-Kids headquarters decorated creativity with a collage of professional and kids art. I had the privilege of meeting the new staff member Sarah who put me to work with copies/data entry. Off to an elementary school to dominate Jungle drawings (I was terrified because I can’t trace my hand) and decorate a speaking stick (native American tradition)…thank goodness I didn’t arrive on Hip-Hop week.
At the school Art-Kids is fully prepared with four adults and four high school helpers for about 20 kids…that is a great ratio for guidance. The kids were excited to be there…running through the doors, flinging of backpacks against the wall with some double-fist pumps. What I loved was these kids were praising how good each piece looked. I coach youth soccer and the amount of positive energy/feedback was far superior from what I’ve seen on the field at this age, and you can tell the staff played a huge role in making this happen.
The positive vibe of Art-Kids most certainly trickles down from Pat who is very passionate about this program, so much that she cares what is going on at the household of these kids. After a few hours of art Pat and I dropped off a junior artist (who used my camera to film the whole journey home…she is 8), we then head to meet the coolest doggie in Utah – Rudy.
Corrine (board co-chair) greets us with Rudy and a black Collie. Corrine just wrote an amazing book for life lessons called The TAO of RUDY which is perfect for parent/kid reading. We ended the 50Give celebrity day with a TV interview at PCTV…50Give is huge in Park City – water the horses cause we are staying!
Another organization that believes in treating volunteers like celebrities is Cabot Creamery (dairy co-op…amazing cheese) who awarded FORTY philanthropists a cruise for their dedication to serving. DC SCORES (creative writing/soccer for inner city kids…huge love) nominated me for this trip and I was honored to be among other people who inspire positive change.
Lindsay Lohan can do what she wants, power to her…but just imagine if the media highlighted good programs/deeds like Art-Kids instead of focusing on celebrities in and out of rehab. I (mind/soul) strongly believe on focusing on the positive in life so it becomes the normal way of living…and Art-Kids embodies positive everything on and off the canvas.
“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist.” – Robert A. Schumann