Help Teach DC Elementary Students Through the Arts

A microproject by Story Tapestries Inc.

This week our Executive Director, Arianna Ross shared a experience she had. To read the whole message please click HERE. Below are a few excerpts:


As the Executive Director of a not-for-profit often times the job is filled with meetings, budgets and paperwork. However, when I decided to help turn this organization into a not-for-profit I made a promise to myself and to the  organization: I would spend at least part of my time still with the community. 

Our home base as an organization is the Washington Metropolitan region.   We work with schools from the heart of south east DC to communities in Virginia and Maryland. Over the years we have worked hard to make certain that 90% of our programs are supported at least in part by an outside funding source. Sometimes we get to travel and support schools in other regions

Photo Jan 09, 11 43 39 AM

Last week we partnered with York Elementary School in Raleigh,  North Carolina. The teachers asked us to focus on having the children write pieces of historical fiction. They were required to step into the shoes of some of the most famous and instrumental civil rights heroes of our time. It was powerful. I observed students do research on Maya Angelou, Thurgood Marshall, Ruby Bridges, Martin Luther King Junior, and so many others. The questions they asked and statements they made were so insightful.

Two examples were.....

 "Ms. Ross, why would someone be mean to another child just because they look different? All children should be allowed to go to school."

"I can't imagine behaving this way. I'm going to grow up and make sure nobody behaves this way to another person."


Thank you so much for your support, please continue to advocate for us by sending this report to friends and family that would love to be part of this project too.

Student Artwork
Student Artwork
Gifts for Good

Your donations have been hard at work, inspiring young minds and building strong foundations for future learning! Students at Jessup Elementary, in programming funded by Global Giving donations, showed off their visual arts creativity. Using their original artwork, we created a series of beautiful, hand crafted note cards. 

Through GlobalGiving's Gifts for Good Program, donate $25 to our Teaching Literacy through the Arts Campaign and you'll receive 2 note cards each of 5 unique designs. The set of 10 cards are blank on the inside and include envelopes to share this bit of sunshine with your loved ones! Perfect for graduations, Father's Day, or thank you notes. 

Exciting Funding News!
Our microproject, Help Teach DC Elementary Students Through the Arts, has been successfully completely funded! We are so incredibly grateful to the generous donors who made this possible, especially those who contributed on the recent Bonus Day, increasing the value of their donations with GlobalGiving's matching funds. This project is currently underway at Tyler Elementary School, and students are engaged in learning capoeira, samba music and storytelling. We will be sharing photos and progress from this program very soon, so keep your eyes peeled! 
Big Picture Thoughts: Why do I do this work?

As both a Teaching Artist and Program Director, I took some time recently to attempt to distill some thoughts on why I believe so strongly in the work of Story Tapestries. I believe that children innately love learning, but that joy and excitement can fade with an overabundance of tests and too much time spent sitting still at a desk. We need to get them excited about coming to school and learning! As a theatre artist, it is intuitive to me that so much learning happens through the process of creating something together. Students develop reading skills, creative problem solving abilities, and respect for others. However, there are many teachers who are intimidated by the arts, often due to lack of exposure themselves. I want to help these empower these teachers to feel comfortable with the tools of the arts, to give them the confidence to reach all their students. I love when we are able to connect ideas across subjects and we can see the learning spark light up in a student's eyes. This spark, this connection to the content through the arts leads to better retention of information and keeps kids coming back to school eager and excited to learn. Ultimately, I hope that I will hook my students on stories and they will have so much fun that they learn, despite themselves.
Self Portrait
Self Portrait
Imagination in Action
Imagination in Action
In the Woods
In the Woods
Underwater Scene
Underwater Scene
Creativity at work
Creativity at work

The US is in the midst of a national dropout crisis, with a new student dropping out of school every 26 seconds.  Our nation's capitol ranked in the lowest position in the country with a graduation rate of only 52% in 2009.  The good news?  Organizations across the country are stepping up and taking action - and it's working!  Story Tapestries is proud to be an America's Promise Alliance Partner.  America's Promise, founded by General Colin Powell, has made an important commitment to build a GradNation and improve graduation rates to 90% in every state nationwide by 2020.  The arts have been proven to be a key element of battling reasons for dropping out by instilling and interest and love for learning and inspiring young people to attend school.  See some key highlights of this year's Summit by clicking on the photo or link below:

Story Tapestries (ST) Program Director and Teaching Artist, Debbi Arseneaux, attended this year's Summit and came back reinvigorated and reconnected to why ST exists.  

"If you can do one thing to make a huge difference and help all children succeed, READ! Read to your children, read with them and encourage them to read to you. Even if you can't read, or struggle with a language barrier, hold the book and turn the pages. Tell them stories, engage them in acting out the stories. Exposure to books and stories in the first few years of life is crucial to prepping young minds for learning. Kindergarten readiness is one of the first and most important markers for future success in learning. If a child can't read by 3rd grade, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to catch up moving forward. By that point, they shouldn't just be learning to read, they need to be reading to learn. I am so proud that the work we do supports this crucial step in student success." -Debbi


As a fantastic follow-up to the America's Promise Grad Nation Summit, we have launched a Global Giving microproject to support an arts-based afterschool program at Tyler Elementary School in DC.  Math and reading scores at Tyler are well below grade level and we know that arts integration programming can help improve student achievement. Through Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian art form combining dance, music & martial arts, Tyler students will be exposed to another culture while exploring math skills, story structure and developing self-control. Professional teaching artists will be working with  students in an after school setting to engage and inspire, giving them a much needed physical outlet as well. 

Click here to learn more about this exciting project:

Global Giving's March 13th Bonus Day will help us get a great leap ahead in reaching our $1400 goal with this microproject to bring programs to Tyler Elementary.

Thank you for your ongoing support and interest in connecting with our latest activities!  We are committed to working with our Alliance Partners to reach our goals of keeping children in school and helping them succeed and achieve!  With your help, we can get there!


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Organization Information

Story Tapestries Inc.

Location: Germantown, MD - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Arianna Ross
Germantown, Maryland United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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