Art Education for Young Refugees
Resettled from Syria to the USA, Akram, Retaj, Nour, Shaimaa, Shehad, Abdelhamid and Ghena are now part of the Chicago community.
Over the past couple months, they have had dance workshops generously donated by Shawn Lent and other volunteers at Performing Arts Limited. Their hard work and commitment was viewed by a 400 audience at their end of the year recital.
What was not necessarily viewed by the audience, is the incredible impact dance has had on these children.
Our goal is to enroll them in ongoing, formal dance classes with others in the community starting September 8th.
Every $400 will cover one 60 minute class per week for the entire year.
We are asking for $470 for each kid, which would also cover new shoes and the costume for the end of the year performance.
Anything extra will go towards enrolling more children and towards their June recital.
I am asking each of you to donate anything you can and spread the word about this fundraising.
A concise list of the impact dance has on children:
-focuses on teamwork and social inclusion
-develops a better understanding of themselves, both -physically and mentally helps understanding others and the world around them
-develops perseverance and self-motivation
-improves child’s confidence levels (especially in English)
-teaches to socialise
We will all benefit from these kids getting a dance education. And we can all relate to them. They are part of our community. They are the future of it. And now it is in our hands to decide, what future do we want.
Some info about us:
the campaign is set by Joanna Priwieziencew.
the kids are students of Shawn Lent, who is their dance teacher at Performing Arts Limited.
All funds will be withdrawn and managed by Shawn to the benefit of the seven mentioned students.
If you wish to support the students in the school year, please follow the link below for tax-deductible donations.
As the school year comes to an end, I would like to once more thank each of you from the bottom of my heart for your generosity and love. You have changed the lives of these kids and that is simply priceless. Thank you.
Below is a post recital note from Shawn.
As always, please let me know should you have any questions or suggestions.
This year recital was during Ramadan and a time of transition for many of the Syrian families. Knowing this, we held a youth showcase performance in May so that all students would have a full opportunity to perform in front of an audience. Both the recital and the youth showcase were positively beautiful. The girls supported one another and educated each other on religion and culture. Jews, Muslims, Christians and Agnostics all had great exchange. One of the peers' families is from Bosnia and she was able to connect with the Syrian girls on what it meant to be a Muslim refugee. The bonds between the students is observable and palpable. At the end of the recital, Sama pleaded to please continue. This was the first-ever opportunity for her mother, a widow, to see her only child perform and glow with pride. Shehad's face also lit up as she asked to try tap in the fall and also the "instrument that goes under your chin." For Shayma, she is curious about how to make music to tell her story. The boys also want to come back into jazz dance or music classes. Even though they've been in the U.S. for less than 6 months, Tasnim, Feyrouz and Nerouz -- who participated in the Dance Peace teen project this spring --
are craving to continue in dance after Ramadan. There is a female hijabi Muslim breaking/pop&lock teacher who would love to have these young women in her teen class. The potential is also there for many children on the waitlist.
Please find attached a few pictures with updates! None of this would have been possible if not for your generosity.
As always, please do let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.
The student's recital is on May 21, and we can't wait to share the outcome with you.
If you would like to pass on the tax-deductible donation site for summer/fall scholarships, please find the link below:
With love and gratitude,
We are happy to introduce you to newly arrived community members!
Some of them have already been sponsored to be part of the school, others are on the waiting list.
Meanwhile, one of our families withdrew from the school, for personal reasons. Their scholarships (3 in total) have been immediately assigned to children on the waiting list.
We now have a total of 12 students enrolled (7 in dance and 5 in music) thanks to this effort combined with a fundraising event in Chicago last October, with $420 yet to be raised for the semester.
We will keep you all notified about upcoming performances in May and June.
Please feel free to message me with any questions or suggestions.
This is s great start. We are hoping to expand and enroll more children and classes. An open house at Performing Arts Limited is scheduled for Sunday, October 30, from 4:30-6:30 pm. Shawn Lent will talk about the impact of this important work. Join us and give what you can. Thank you.