Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall Appreciation

Its 4:10pm and the entrance room to the Cook Arts Center is quiet; the calm before the storm. Noemi Ashley, the receptionist, glances at the clock and gets a hint of excitement in her eyes. Although she had been involved with GAAH for several years, she always eagerly anticipates the students’ arrival after school. The door bursts open and a swirl of students, leaves & autumn air fill the small entrance. Noemi exhibits a calm poise as she asks the students about their day and gets them signed in. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Noemi loves the family atmosphere at the center and especially enjoys working with the large Latino population. “The center really does make a change” she explains, “The classes help students build confidence which helps for their future.” Noemi remembers going to a community center growing up and says it had a positive impact on her life. There truly is a supporting community at GAAH and Noemi is just one of the important individuals who make it an enriching space. Executive Director Marjorie Kuipers says, “Noemi treats everyone with love & respect. She is patient and has the ability to juggle a variety of tasks.” In addition to the numerous tasks Noemi gracefully accomplishes at work, she is also pursuing an occupational therapy degree (full time!) at GVSU.

Cook Arts Center: Not Just For Kids Enthusiastic students pour into the Cook Arts Center & Cook Library Center everyday to strengthen their academic skills and embark on creative ventures. GAAH however, is not just for kids. On Tuesday nights, neighborhood members & people from greater Grand Rapids come together to stretch out their interest in yoga. Meryn McClelland, certified yoga instructor, leads the class with valuable cross-cultural competency. Around 7:45pm a comforting harmonic sound can be heard through the walls as yoga participants sing a traditional mantra that signifies love and community. Meryn is one of our many dedicated volunteers who make GAAH special. In addition to the community yoga class, adults have also requested their own piano class. Volunteer Katherine Thelen graciously teaches a kids art class during the piano class so that parents do not need to worry about childcare.

New Faces: Eva Jenson recently joined GAAH staff as our new multicultural & bilingual Outreach Coordinator. She says, “GAAH is so important to everyone involved. Staff members enjoy being here just as much as class participants. I hope to create even more opportunities for people to come celebrate culture and community.” Eva received a warm welcome and looks forward to exciting future endeavors.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fall 2011 Chess Tournament

The Cook Library Center staff and our new Calvin College student volunteers started the 2011 school year with a challenge - a chess tournament!  Cook Library Center students went up against each other and also challenged Calvin College students face to face.  It was a long and competitive tournament and a great way to challenge students as their brains began to kick back into high gear for the school year. With cash prizes at stake, each student gave it their all. In the end, Manuel L. took third, Danny L. took second, and Julio R. claimed the first place title.
Danny L. faces a student from Calvin College as his little brother looks on.

These girls played some intense games as they battled to win the cash prizes.
Cook Library Center students faced each other in the tournament.
Manuel shows off his 3rd place prize.
Danny is proud to hold the 2nd place title.

Julio was the chess champion that day!

Programs at the Cook Library Center are administered by Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Summer Recap

School begins next week and as we prepare for our fall programs, we look back at the fabulous summer we had at the Cook Arts Center and Cook Library Center. Below are some photos that will help us remember all of the great things students, families, volunteers and staff experienced this summer.

Math, Science, Art and Reading at the Cook Library Center

Dance and Theater

Visual Arts and Pottery

Field Trips

Creative Writing, Reading and Career Exploration

Rhythm and Music

Gardening and Nutrition

What a fabulous summer!

Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities administers the programs of the Cook Arts Center and the Cook Library Center.