Young Audiences Partners with 12 New Jersey Schools through their Sandy Relief Arts Education Initiative

Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania (YA) recently announced a new initiative to aid schools serving students affected by Hurricane Sandy.  The Sandy Relief Arts Education Initiative is a grant program funded through the New Jersey Recovery Fund and YA fundraising efforts that focuses on the power of the arts as a vehicle for healing and recovery, and will offer grants of up to $10,000 to bring arts education programming to schools serving students affected by Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey.
“We received many compelling applications from schools in New Jersey that were affected by Superstorm Sandy”, shared Arts Education Program Director Liz Winter-Kuwornu of Young Audiences. “Due to generous grants and YA donors, we have the ability to provide arts programming that will strengthen each of these communities in a profound way.”
The New Jersey Schools that were awarded grants are:
- Downe Township School, Newport, Cumberland County
- Beach Haven School, Beach Haven, Ocean County
- West Belmar School, Wall, Monmouth County
- Lavallette Elementary School, Lavallette, Ocean County
- Monmouth Beach School, Monmouth Beach, Monmouth County
- All Saints Regional Catholic School, Manahawkin, Ocean County
- Bayville School, Bayville, Ocean County
- New York Avenue School, Atlantic City, Atlantic County
- Samsel Upper Elementary, Parlin, Middlesex County
- Hope Academy Charter School, Asbury Park, Monmouth County
- Hoboken Charter High School, Hudson County
- Saint Rose High School, Belmar, Monmouth County
YA will work closely with these twelve schools to develop arts programming that meets students’ recovery needs.  YA staff will draw from our wide range of programs – school-day, afterschool and evening family programming – to aid each school community in its recovery process. With this grant YA hopes to strengthen children’s identities and their bonds within their school communities, help them build relationships and gain trust, and enhance children’s self-esteem, confidence and creativity.
Schools, along with YA staff member and our professional teaching artists, will collaborate to design and plan a performance and long-term artist-in-residence program based on their unique needs.  The grant will provide funding for a variety of initiatives, including:  
- Provide arts experiences for children, their teachers and families that focus on healing;  
- Offer arts-based opportunities that aid schools in the recovery process;
- Provide temporary replacement of arts-integrated programming that was lost.
“We are thrilled to receive this generous grant,” Chris Sell, principal of Hoboken Charter High School, said in a statement. “With the help of Young Audiences, we can offer our students inspiring, arts-rich experiences that will help build strength and character in our students as they cope with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.”
“As we have just rounded the corner of the anniversary of Super Storm Sandy we are seeing that while some healing has begun we still have a long way to go. This arts education grant gives our children an opportunity to be intimately involved in a project where they can express themselves and work together to build and create. We see it as a tremendous opportunity to grow and heal,” shared Jane Homer, Vice President Lavallette PTO.  “Life continues to stumble on, without time to stop or reflect. But in order to truly move on, children need to be able to express themselves and have something meaningful to look forward to. This project provides the children, our staff and our community an opportunity to connect with the material and each other on many levels and in a meaningful way, therefore providing an experience that we will all never forget.”

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