Bring Joy to our Kids!
I'm raising funds for an amazing organization called Kúkátónón Children's African Dance Troupe. After first seeing the kids in the dance troupe perform three years ago, I decided to join the board to help this small non-profit build a foundation to secure its future.
Kúkátónón was started over 30 years ago by Rolia Manyongai-Jones, an immigrant from rural Liberia and a former teacher for 25 years in the Portland Public Schools. Rolia had a dream of educating children about African cultural traditions, and bringing people together across cultural lines through her life's passion – dance. Since its founding, the program has taught more than 1,000 youth and has performed before approximately 100,000 audience members. One of our board members, now an elementary school teacher, is a former Kúkátónón troupe member!
Kúkátónón provides a safe place for kids to belong and grow as individuals. The dance troupe meets three times per week after school for dancing and drumming practice. Working with our professional teaching artists, the children in the troupe learn traditional African dances, drum beats, and chants. Our unique program provides arts learning opportunities to underserved children, while also increasing their confidence, body awareness, physical health, discipline, and teaching our mostly African American troupe about their African heritage. (Currently, 77% of troupe members are African American, with 20% of the remaining kids identifying with two or more races.) Each season, Kúkátónón performs throughout the Portland area and beyond, delighting and inspiring audiences of over 24,000.
What began as a modest program at one school (Woodlawn Elementary) has grown in recent years to serve kids throughout the entire Portland Metro Area. Our current troupe is comprised of 30 kids from 17 different schools. Kúkátónón does not charge kids to participate in the program, except for a modest administrative fee of $50 for the whole season, which is waived in circumstances of financial hardship. 67% of troupe members qualify for the Federal Free/Reduced Lunch program, an indicator of poverty.
It takes a village to raise a child, and Kúkátónón needs your help. Your donation will support the cost of running our program, and keeping it accessible to low-income children and families. Your funds will go towards our rented rehearsal space, modest compensation for our teaching artists, transportation, costumes, drums/props, and snacks served during rehearsals. We are a 501c3 non-profit, so your donations are tax deductible.
Please help us continue a legacy of cultural exchange through dance and drumming! Your support ensures that Kúkátónón will be accessible to children and audiences for generations to come. Any size donation is welcome! Here is an example of where the money goes:
$50 offsets one student’s registration fee.
$100 covers the cost of one month’s snacks served at our after-school rehearsals.
$300 pays for 2 weekly sessions of drumming practice with one teaching artist.
$500 pays for one season’s worth of authentic African costumes.
$1000 supports the troupe’s transportation to participate in the World Beat Festival and the MLK Celebration in Portland.
$1500 covers 2 months of rent at our community based rehearsal venue
$2000 supports the Troupe’s performance at two Portland area schools, where approximately 67% of the children are eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch program.
$3000 provides a full season’s opportunity for one young person, ages 7-14, to learn African dance and participate in the Troupe.
$5000 nearly cover’s an entire season’s worth of fees for our four teaching artists.
Ultimately our goal is to get our own space and transportation to better serve the kids.
Visit www.kukatonon.org to learn more.