Friday, May 24, 2013

Two Exciting New Groups at the Cook Arts Center! 

The Cook Arts Center's very own Sarah Bruxvoort has been a very busy bee these past few weeks. Why, you ask? Apart from tending to the day-to-day needs of our students during program hours, occasionally helping Ms. Sue at our Library Center, and helping run the front desk, she's also been developing curriculum for two new and exciting groups that are taking place at the Cook Arts Center. Those groups are the Gardening Group, which was officially launched a couple of weeks ago, as well as a Girls Group, which is set to begin June 3rd. 

Gardening Group is an initiative geared specifically towards Cook Arts Center teenagers. As programming options wane the older these students get, we're hoping this group will serve as an engaging way for teens to stay involved with us. Sarah gave us a little insight into what she is hoping this group will instill in our teens, commenting that she desires that this group give our students "opportunities that develop responsibility and a sense of pride in a place - a beautiful place that they helped create with their own hands and hard work." Teens will be tending to our garden plots in the back of our building. They have plans to put tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, cantaloupe, carrots, and cauliflower (affectionately nicknamed by our students "white trees") in the ground. All vegetables were selected by our teens and will hopefully bear many a fruit! 

Girls Group is set to be launched Monday, June 3rd and is open to any neighborhood girl who is currently in the 7th grade or higher. For Girls Group, Sarah is hoping to create a space that is "encouraging for teen girls to develop meaningful relationships, recognize their value, make healthy choices and fulfill their life goals." New topical discussions will take place each Monday the group meets. 

If you know of any teens that live in our neighborhood who are looking to get involved in something meaningful, please don't hesitate to let us know! :)   

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

Friday, May 10, 2013

Connecting with our Kids

Two of our beloved Board Members, Tina B. and Jose R., have both shown an exemplary commitment to volunteerism within the organization that they help govern.  We know that time is tight when you have a full plate of responsibilities that demand your attention, and that sometimes there just isn't enough time left over for activities and altruistic endeavors that you would like to participate in.  Tina and Jose, however, have risen to the challenge of squeezing time into their extremely busy schedules to volunteer in house.  Both professionals in their respective fields, Board Members for GAAH and parents, they still find time to meaningfully connect with the neighborhood that they advocate for. 

Tina volunteers her time weekly to tutor one of our students in math, reading, and writing.  It's  heartwarming, to say the least, observing the two of them giggling while reading aloud together and practicing the pronunciation of unfamiliar words.  Tina is also a fantastic organizer - she was instrumental in helping plan GAAH's first volunteer Connect meeting.  Jose is also a joy to observe while he's interacting with our students.  Last week he volunteered his time to help engage some of them in the "Reading for Tacos" initiative that sought to give kids an incentive (free tacos from Tacos El Cunado!) for reading.  Aaliyah S., as you'll see in the photo below, was very focused on reading with Mr. Jose! :)

Thank you, Tina and Jose, for committing to engaging with our students!  

Tina B. reading to Ocean B. and Sandra G.

Jose R. helping Aaliyah S. earn some tacos!  
  Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities administers the programs of the Cook Arts Center and Cook Library Center.