Just this week, Executive Director and Master Teaching Artist Arianna Ross, reports from the classroom about having a moment of sheer joy at the impact of the work of a teaching artist.
"There was one particular student, one of my 5 year olds, who had been labelled as difficult, disruptive...then, when it came time to present the story, she was one of the most active participants. I was able to point to her as a positive example for the other students. Again and again, I see that it's the kids who appear to the classroom teachers to be a lost cause who really step up and thrive in arts activities. It's amazing to see that lightbulb of understanding go on. When they receive the positive attention they crave, they turn into our greatest success stories. It's not that the teachers don't want to give all of their students the attention they need, it's just that they are so often just overwhelmed and underresourced. We are there to offer them additional tools and support to help all their students succeed."
As the end of the year approaches, we are presented with many opportunities to reflect, give thanks, and take stock of the successes and challenges of the past 12 months. We at Story Tapestries have been so grateful to have had the opportunity to touch so many lives through our passion for arts and learning. Students like the little girl in Arianna's classroom have you to thank for that lightbulb moment. Your support has made this possible and we hope you will continue to do so as we strive to reach our funding goals at the end of the year.
For the month of December, we are participating in Global Giving's Year End Campaign. This means that if we raise at least $3000 from 30 donors, GlobalGiving has up to $10,000 in prizes to award to the organizations that raise the most amount of money in December! With your help, we know we can reach $5000 by the end of December. Thank you for joining us in this effort!
'Tis the season of giving. How are YOU giving back to your community this holiday season? We are very excited that this project will be participating in Global Giving's Year-End Campaign. They are offering NINE bonus awards to the top projects that raise the most money in GlobalGiving’s first-ever Year-End Campaign. The campaign begins at 12:01 am EST on December 1st and runs through 11:59 pm EST on December 31st. Projects must raise at least $3,000 from 30 donors in order to qualify for a bonus award...so we need your help!
Your donations will continue to support exciting and innovative programming to develop literacy skills through the arts, to increase learning retention by reaching the whole child and to build community support through parent and teacher involvment in the education process. We are currently developing partnerships with Arena Stage and Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County to reach students with emotional and behavioral challenges and keep them engaged in learning through the arts. We are in the process of creating programming in partnership with the local YMCA to bring arts integration initiatives to their Benchmark Afterschool Program working with middleschoolers. We are incredibly excited about the possibilities and with your help, we can make them happen.
Can you help us rise to the top?
We at Story Tapestries cannot thank you enough for your incredible support of our work! The lives of hundreds of children are being impacted daily as a direct result of your generosity. Just check out a few of the projects you supported this past year!
We were able to increase our presence at Tyler Elementary School in the disadvantaged Southeast area of Washington DC and engage more students in after school programs. We were able to offer two new after school programs, including one directly funded by donations to our GlobalGiving microproject, Help Teach DC Students Through the Arts. These students deepened their understanding of essential math skills through movement and music, while experiencing the Brazillian art of Capoeira. Third graders practiced the actor's role as storyteller while exploring fundamental story elements and sequencing, crucial literacy skills.
With your help, we were able to provide matching grants to provide in depth artist-in-residency experiences to 9 schools in Maryland. These schools would not otherwise have been able to afford this high quality programming and the teachers were able to increase the tools available to them to reach their students more effectively.
Because of your support, we were able to give perfomances in 7 libraries across DC throughout the summer and fall. These free to the public performances were a wonderful opportunity for families to share a live theatre arts and storytelling experience.
With your continued generosity, we will continue to offer powerful, life changing arts experiences and arts integration programs to schools, libraries and communities. A few of our friends would like to thank you as well. We hope their smiling faces make your day as much as they do ours!
Click the Thank You Video link below:
Normally, an excutive director is an administrator. However as one of the founders of Story Tapestries, I don't think I can ever let go of the classroom. On days when I wake up in the morning and have to sit at my desk, it is the children and their smiles that keep me returning to the computer. It is the teacher's, the parents, the administrators and their dreams for the future that remind me to work hard.
This summer, I had the priviledge of working in Baltimore City at a middle school. I have to say it was not an easy environment. BUT the staff was incredible. We spent the morning partnering with Math and Science teachers. The afternoon, I was given a team of young women to educate. We explored our dreams for the future....We talked about dreams.....and we built a foundation for our dreams to grow upon.
In their words:
Myeisha: Everyone has a dream.
Keirra and Shamiara: Anyone can be what they want to be!
Shania: When I see myself as an adult, I see myself having lots of friends, having a career and a wonderful family.
Kaia: In order to have a future I have to do the right thing like going to school.
Skyler: That’s what I’m planning on doing in my future.
Jalen: I’m going to ask my grandmother, another lawyer, about how to go against an opponent in court.
Nicole: I’m going to train to do my best.
Kayla: I hope I win in life for my family.
Everyone: These are our steps for tomorrow.
I hope that as the year progresses, Story Tapestries can help more children create their future. If you enjoyed reading this story, please share it with your friends. The more people know our story the more we people we can serve.
Wrapping up the school year
I've had an extremely full and rewarding year as a Teaching Artist with Story Tapestries, teaching music, drama, storytelling and more. I've been teaching after school at Maury Elementary since January and in that time, I have grown quite fond of two very sweet, often challenging, and ultimately inspiring groups of young children. Each week, I enter their afterschool classroom, where they have been running around, playing, reading, climbing all over each other and generally enjoying the freedom of their after school time. And here I come, with knowledge to impart and learning to facilitate. It's a difficult challenge for any out of school time program provider. We know that what we are doing is valuable, and we know it will be fun for the students, and we know that they will learn in spite of themselves...if only they will stay still or quiet long enough to hear us! But I feel lucky...the arts integration work that we are doing with Story Tapestries is exactly the kind of activity these students look forward to.
I love it when they call me "the story lady" or jump up and down when I get there, asking what story we will do today. They LOVE hearing the stories, they can't wait to find out what happens next and act them out. They eagerly burn through art projects and bring them home, chatting all the way about the characters. They are learning story structure and character traits through these activities. They are learning that one event in a story leads to another and that actions have consequences. We explore setting and environment and build teamwork and respect by creating those settings together through movement and sound. And the music! They cannot get enough singing and dancing. Music helps tell the story, influences mood and reinforces key concepts. One of the teacher's aides told me that they wouldn't stop singing the song we learned while reading Stone Soup stories all week long.
This week, we wrapped up our program by sharing performances of their favorite songs and stories with the other afterschool groups. I am so pleased to celebrate their success and progress with their peers! Your support is helping us to have this impact, and with your continued support, we will be able to return next year with even more programming! Thank you!!
Coming to a Library Near You!
Join us this summer for these free public performances:
Monday, June 24
1547 Alabama Ave. S.E.
Washington, DC 20032
Wednesday, June 26
4450 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library:
Wednesday, August 14
1630 7th St. NW
Washington, DC 20001
1701 Gales St. NE
Washington, DC 20002
Friday, August 16
403 7th St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
We hope to see you and a friend at one of the upcoming performances! And if you are inspired by our work, please pass it on! We can't do this without you.
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