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Pittsburgh Funded: Youth funding youth at Teens 4 Change

Three Rivers Community Foundation takes a chance on non-traditional groups looking for funding,” says Sydney Olberg, who heads TRCF’s Teens 4 Change. And Teens 4 Change has an even bolder vision – it takes a new group of about 15 high-school teens each year and teaches them how to make smart grants to other youth-led or youth-driven organizations that offer services to youth as well.  “So that the youth voice is incorporated into the project,” Olberg explains. “It’s also about the future of grant making and hoping that social justice becomes a part of it.”
 
TRCF focuses its giving on social-justice groups – “changing the inequalities in the system,” Olberg says – so the teens also learn about local social-justice issues before they choose the recipients of their $500 to $2,000 grants.
 
Teens 4 Change’s last round of six grants funded such causes as Educating Teens HIV/AID, Inc. and the PRYSE Academy, a Pitt student summer program for refugee youth  that teaches skills for navigating in society and for appreciating other cultures.
 
This year’s Teens 4 Change program has the help of a past member, now in college. The kids are learning how to write their own Request For Proposals, do outreach to applicants, even design graphics for program advertising.  “It’s good practice for youth to be reaching out to each other and seeing each other as a network,” Olberg notes.
 
TRCF has just received reports from two of last year’s awardees, she says; PRYSE, for one, has doubled its refugee contacts, thanks to the grant.
 
The deadline for groups to apply is April 4 at 5 p.m.  The application is online at the TRCF site, or you can contact Olberg at  (612) 886- 5268 or email here.
 
“It is an empowering experience to apply to youth and to be funded by youth,” she concludes. “We’re a starting point for taking a chance on these youth-led programs.”
 
Writer: Marty Levine (forgood@popcitymedia.com)
Source: Sydney Olberg, Teens 4 Change

'Housing options' offers creative housing solutions for those with disabilities

Among people with disabilities such as autism in Pennsylvania, there's a 17,000-person waiting list seeking community housing funds, says Linda Marino, resource coordinator at Jewish Family & Children’s Service (www.jfcspgh.org) (JF&CS).
 
That’s why JF&CS and Jewish Residential Services, which focuses its support work on families of individuals with special needs, will present “Housing options for individuals with disabilities” on March 4 at Rodef Shalom in Oakland.
 
Local disability housing advocates appearing to speak and answer questions include Deborah Friedman, executive director of Jewish Residential Services, who will talk about current residential programs and plans for housing in Squirrel Hill; Mary Hartley, a consultant for the United Way of Allegheny County’s 21andAble Initiative, discussing innovative housing models for adults with disabilities; Elliot Frank, president of Autism Housing Development Corporation of Pittsburgh, who will speak on The Heidelberg Apartment project for autism spectrum adults and typical adults living together; Nancy Murray, head of the ARC of Greater Pittsburgh and ACHIEVA, will talk on ACHIEVA’s “A Home of My Own” program that combines a family's private resources with government funding and natural supports to help people with disabilities to live safely in a home of their choice; and Robert Garber, an attorney, landlord, court-appointed co-guardian and family member of an individual with special needs, whose topic is privately arranging residential services for a family member with special needs.
 
The event, Marino says, “isn’t a step-by-step approach to getting housing. Some people are doing some very creative things to get housing for their loved ones,” and the event will highlight “how housing can be provided by thinking outside the box,” such as creating housing with other parents of adult children with disabilities, or directly with a social services agency.
 
She points to The Heidelberg Apartment project as a great example of community housing possibilities. “We want them all to live in the community together – that’s what inclusion is all about,” she says of adults with disabilities, although there are various degrees of independence. “A lot of people can live in the community with support. Everybody’s different, so everybodys needs are at a different level. The preference is for folks to live in a community. My son’s group home is in a community and he’s a part of the community.”
 
The presentation is free and open to the community and includes a light kosher meal at 6 p.m. Registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Marino at 412-422-7200 or email here.
 
 “I think this is a good start for a lot of people looking for adults to live in their community and not in their [family] houses,” she says.
 
 
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Linda Marino, Jewish Family & Children’s Service

National scholarships for African Americans come here

The NAACP offers two college scholarships annually, and last year no students from the Pittsburgh area applied for either of them.
 
That will likely change this year as the national scholarship opportunities are being administered by the local POISE Foundation – the first public foundation in Pennsylvania organized and managed by African Americans.
 
The POISE Foundation’s mission, says Karris Jackson, its vice president of programs, "is to assist the Pittsburgh region’s black community in achieving self-sustaining practices, through strategic leadership, collective giving, grant making and advocacy." POISE manages 150 scholarship and grant funds currently.
 
The NAACP's Agnes Jones Jackson Scholarship is available only to NAACP members, but its Hubertus W.V. Willems Scholarship is available to all male students.
 
"I find that a lot of students start the application but never complete it," Jackson says. "That’s usually because they did not give themselves enough time to gather all the necessary documents and/or to write a thoughtful essay."
 
Over the past few years, POISE has heard from an increasing number of students needing emergency funding to remain in school, she notes. "African American students often lack access to the networks that expose them to the vast number of available scholarships," she adds. "I also think that African American students have a higher degree of need and, as a result, depend more heavily on scholarship money to help cover the cost of tuition.
 
"Scholarships help to close the gap between financial aid and family responsibility," she concludes. The NAACP scholarships provide up to $3,000 each. "This is a great opportunity for students in the Pittsburgh region and we hope more will take advantage."
 
Applications are being accepted from now until March 17.
 
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Karris Jackson, POISE Foundation
 

You knew the Giant Rubber Duck would be on the cover ...

With a cover featuring Pittsburgh's largest visitor last year – the giant rubber duck – VisitPittsburgh's new 2014 Official Visitors Guide to Pittsburgh, which debuted last week, also features double the number of neighborhoods.
 
"There's a travel trend," says Connie George, the organization's vice president of communications. "People want to get a taste of a city by experiencing its neighborhoods – and actually neighborhoods are what makes Pittsburgh so strong."
 
VisitPittsburgh picked neighborhoods that past visitors have liked, and that are home to their own attractions: Mt. Washington, East Liberty, Downtown, North Shore, Strip District, Lawrenceville, Oakland, Shadyside and two that aren't even city neighborhoods: Sewickley and Monroeville. 
 
The book marks the debut of the group's new brand: a bridge and river logo and the slogan "Mighty. Beautiful."
 
"We tried in the book to show that Pittsburgh is a friendly city and a very vibrant city that has transformed itself into a surprisingly progressive city," George says.
 
The book goes free to potential tourists who call for information or those who stop by VisitPittsburgh's seven welcome centers, from Fifth Avenue Place and the Duquesne Incline to Golden Triangle Bicycle Rental. Their sales team also uses it to attract conventions and inform visiting press, including 90 travel journalists a year.
 
It also features "new and exciting photography," she adds, including the cover shot by local photographer Roy Engelbrecht (http://www.rephoto.net/) and photos by ex-Post-Gazette Pulitzer winner Martha Rial, among others.
 
It will be available for download "soon," the group says.

Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Connie George, VisitPittsburgh

Aiming at a larger problem -- Racial Equity in Arts group starts

The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC) has launched the Pittsburgh Coalition for Racial Equity in the Arts because "the arts really have an ability to lead broader society and push the changes," says Tiffany Wilhelm, deputy director of GPAC.
 
The Coalition has just begun but already has 80 individual and group members.  GPAC has been sponsoring workshops and arts events promoting better arts access for those with disabilities, and the new Coalition will add to GPAC's ongoing push for diversity in the arts, she says.
 
"Now we want to be more public about talking about race and racial equity," Wilhelm says. "We see organizations that are led by people of color or involve artists of color not getting as much opportunity … People say that they feel like funding is not always equitable and that people are getting passed up for exhibitions and performances. It really is the same challenges and inequities we see in broader society."
 
Wilhelm notes that the current exhibition in GPAC's own gallery features art by African American men. "They felt it was unusual to have an opportunity to exhibit Downtown," she reports. "We felt that that shouldn't be unusual."
 
How can the arts help to fix these societal issues? Arts organizations and individual artists can exhibit and perform work that starts people talking about race. Wilhelm points to Bricolage's theatrical series focused on race relations and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's "Race: Are we so different?" exhibit slated to open in March. The first Coalition event will be "Moving Against Racism in the Arts" on Feb. 20 at The Alloy Studio (5530 Penn Ave.) in partnership with the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. The dance and discussion program for artists and arts administrators is being billed as "a candid community conversation with movement, writing, and small group sharing to set us in motion to listen, learn, and lead."
 
"The more we can connect to what is happening in the community and the conversations that are already happening, the better off we will be," concludes Wilhelm. In the meantime, the Coalition will be looking for more events that will provide "lots of entry points for people to join the conversation ..."
      
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Tiffany Wilhelm, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

Fast Pitch: 'best nonprofit coaching around' up for grabs

Sure, $30,000 is at stake for local nonprofits, but it's the coaching that is the biggest prize of the local Social Venture Partners' fourth annual Fast Pitch competition, says Director Elizabeth Visnic.
 
The contest this year will be held on March 6 the Circuit Center (5 Hot Metal Street) on the South Side. Finalists chosen March 3 will hit the stage to give a three-minute pitch, to be judged by the Partners and the public.
 
The nonprofits have been busy receiving expert coaching on honing and delivering their message – a skill that will leave them better able to plan for their futures and seek other funding as well.
 
This year's semi-finalists are:
 
  • CARE Ownership Asset Development & Training Program
  • CHS Homeless Assistance Programs
  • First Tee of Pittsburgh
  • High School Urban Eco Stewards: Young Naturalist Educators
  • Homeless Education Network
  • Lending Hearts
  • Music Smiles
  • Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse
  • J.A.W.S. (Jobs Access and Waste reduction through Small business creation)
  • Refugee Teen Mentoring Program
  • Small Seeds Development Inc.
  • Treasure House Fashions 
Among the prizes this year are capacity-building grants from the Partners and from the Forbes Fund – not only cash but continued coaching.
 
"I think we've gone a lot deeper in our whole coaching program" this year, says Visnic.  She calls it        "really one of the best in the country for coaching pitches," based on exchanges Pittsburgh SVP group has had with other SVP organizations around the world.
 
"We have a great array," of semi-finalists, Visnic notes, "from faith-based communities, social services, social enterprises – generating their own resources to sustain what they are doing – and others.
 
"It is their opportunity to raise awareness about their issue to everyone in Pittsburgh, and their specific role."
 
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Elizabeth Visnic, Social Venture Partners Pittsburgh

NPC's Design Our Future targets action on startups, diversity, public policy

The New Pittsburgh Collaborative (NPC) has narrowed down the priorities for its Design Our Future program, starting its members on a two-year effort to focus greater city attention on three areas:

  • Diversity, inclusion, and equity
  • Public policy and leadership
  • Startups, innovation, and entrepreneurship
The process began on Nov. 9, when more than 60 individuals from about 40 organizations met at NPC to come up with the region's biggest opportunities and challenges. Since then, 300 ideas became 40 issue-specific designs, now narrowed to the three categories above.

"Accessibility is such a big issue," says NPC head Dan Law about the first focal issue for Design Our Future, "not just to jobs but to our civic organizations, our local government, the chance for young people to be integrated into our neighborhoods." Solutions may lie in changing people's "economic trajectory," Law says.  
 
Law says the discussions about the issues will include not only young professionals in their twenties and thirties but younger students and older people in mid-career. "The intergenerational, interdisciplinary approach is going to be the linchpin for future collaboration," he says.
 
"We're still trying to figure out what is the recipe for constructive and productive dialog on equity," Law adds. "These are very difficult questions, but we firmly believe we need to take the time to have dialog before we move to have constructive programs."
           
Law hopes to encourage local individuals and groups to contact the NPC and be a part of Design Our Future. Concludes Law: "We don't have all the answers yet but we're going to spend the next two years figuring it out."
 
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Dan Law, NPC

Deadline Pittsburgh -- GPAC artist's grants, Feb. 24

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council is offering up to $2,500 each in Artist Opportunity Grants with a Feb. 24 application deadline to "help artists hone their skills and craft [through] important professional development opportunities, such as travel to work with a mentor, participation in a festival or artist residency."
 
Four factors make artists most eligible: If the grant will sponsor something the artist has not attempted before; if the artist is committed to undertake the opportunity; if it fits in well with the current stage of the artist's career, and if it "will help you achieve a professional goal."
 
These grants don't fund the creation of new work; rather, they fund such items as "childcare, framing, shipping, travel expenses, professional installation of your work, documenting, and tons of other stuff that you usually can’t afford."
 
The thrice yearly grants also have deadlines of May 19 and October 20.
 
Sponsors of this grant opportunity include the Fund for Individual Artists of The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Heinz Endowments and the Hillman Family Foundations.
 
Eligibility requirements: Artists must be at least 18, live in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Mercer, Lawrence, Somerset, Venango, Washington or Westmoreland counties for at least the past year and "have a record of artistic accomplishment that can be documented, including evidence of work that has been publicly performed, exhibited, published, critically reviewed, etc."
 
Writer: Marty Levine 

Could your nonprofit benefit from 46 weeks of help?

Dannai Harriel believes there are nonprofits in Pittsburgh that could use the help of a budding health professional who really wants to serve this community.
 
Harriel is program manager for Pittsburgh Health Corps (PHC), the local group of AmeriCorps members who are again this year seeking placements in Pittsburgh nonprofits where they can work on public-health projects.
 
"There are so many grassroots, smaller organizations doing this type of work," says Harriel. "I know there are organizations out there who could benefit from an AmeriCorps member.”
 
The PHC/AmeriCorps members will each put in 1,700 hours of community service over a 46-week period from September 2014 through July 2015. Notes Harriel, the group is particularly looking for opportunities to work on promoting community involvement in healthy eating, exercise, environmental stewardship and managing such diseases as hypertension, diabetes and asthma.
 
The typical PHC member, says Harriel, is a recent college graduate who wants to move into public health, medicine or social services. PHC already partners with health centers, food banks where members work to promote good nutrition, and the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, where they are doing outreach and testing to prevent the spread of HIV.
 
Now she hopes organizations that start community gardens and that promote community fitness will want to take on PHC members as well.
 
“I would really like to see our members in schools," she adds, "because they’re young and they’re so excited. I could see them with children to help inspire them to be healthier. Maybe it can trickle down to their parents and the community."
 
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Dannai Harriel, Pittsburgh Health Corps

Not just for babies anymore: new Parenting Expo debuts

"Once you get past the baby years, there's not a lot out there for parents who are looking for great resources and great education in a live event," says Debi Gilboa, the East End family doctor, national parenting speaker and mother of four. The new Parenting Expo, which debuts nationally in Pittsburgh on March 8 at the Monroeville Convention Center, is the only such local event that's for parents with kids beyond the toddler years, Gilboa believes.
 
That's why she is now involved in gathering the workshop presenters, participatory stage presentations for kids and other features of the event. It will be, she says, "an expo unlike any other I've ever seen, and I've searched as a parent and as a parent speaker."
 
The event will have many local facets, she explains, from Pittsburgh Zoo animals to local sports mascots. Set for the stage are demonstrations for which kids will be invited up to participate, encompassing the martial arts, dancing and storytelling, as well as lessons on how they can pack their own healthy lunches, and mock college interviews for the older kids.
 
Thirty different parenting workshops, each about half an hour, will cover such topics as the family finances, how to help with homework, potty training and bedtime, and other tough subjects, such as talking sex with your teen.
 
Kids 14 and under are free, while adult tickets are $8 in advance. The day will include prizes and giveaways as well.
 
"As parents we have a lot of questions," Gilboa says. "This is a good way for parents to hear from 30 different experts." She hopes that the parents who attend will get "answers to several of the questions that have been bugging them recently, and fantastic resources to answer the questions they don't know, that will bug them in the future."
 
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Debi Gilboa

Who loves their library the most?

You love your library – or you ought to. 
 
To honor those who love it so much they work hard to ensure its future, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh created a Community Advocate award – and the library is seeking nominations once again this year, with a March 1 deadline.
 
The award was created three years ago to recognize those who pushed to get a voter question on the November 2011 ballot to increase taxes to support the libraries. It passed with 72 percent of the vote.
 
"Our board and our trustees were just overwhelmed by such a grassroots effort," says Maggie McFalls, Carnegie Library's community engagement coordinator. The first Community Advocate Award went to those behind the voter initiative.
 
Now the library is seeking nominees for this year's award, to be presented at the annual public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on March 26 at the East Liberty branch. Nominations will be accepted online and at "nomination stations" at all libraries.
 
Honorees can be an individual or group. "Because the library serves everybody, we get every type of volunteer and advocate you can imagine," says McFalls: teens, seniors and volunteer friends-of-the-library groups for every branch.
 
The Squirrel Hill branch's group, for instance, has been a strong organization for years, she says, conducting very successful book sales, lately with an online component. The solid Lawrenceville branch advocacy team was formed in 2009 when local artists and activists mobilized after the branch faced possible closure.
 
Teens come to the library to paint murals in the stacks, McFalls notes. Young volunteers help to work the Carnegie Library's after-hours events. All it takes to help the library system, and win the award, she concludes, is "just a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the importance of libraries."
 
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Maggie McFalls, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
 

Join one, go to nine venues for free, thanks to We (Heart) Our Members

Jennifer Scanlon Roach has been the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s associate director of visitor services since 2003 and "this is the first time we've been able to make this concept work," she says.
 
This concept is “We (Heart) Members Days,” in which nine local cultural institutions have agreed to give the members of each venue free access to all the others on selected days in February:
  • Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Sat., Feb. 1
  • Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Sun., Feb. 2
  • Senator John Heinz History Center, Sat., Feb. 8
  • Mattress Factory, Sun., Feb. 9
  • Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Sat., Feb. 15
  • Frick Art & Historical Center, Sun., Feb. 16
  • Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Mon., Feb. 17
  • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Sat., Feb. 22
  • National Aviary, Sun., Feb. 23 
Details are available at the individual websites of each organization.
 
"When you look around we all benefit from these cultural arts in Pittsburgh," says Roach. "We really hope its adding to current member benefits to our organizations, so they can not only know what it's like to be a member of the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, for instance, but can explore other cultural institutions in Pittsburgh and see what it's like to be a member as well."
 
Each organization will also be such additional benefits as a 10 percent discount in some venue gift shops and a 10 percent discount on new memberships.
 
"It's not a matter of visiting once and checking it off your Pittsburgh bucket list," Roach adds. "We're hoping people will discover that there is so much more these institutions offer on a membership basis."
 
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Jennifer Scanlon Roach, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Lending Hearts keeps kids with cancer 'looking ahead'

Vasso Paliouras was inspired to start Lending Hearts after her younger sister was diagnosed with cancer while still in high school. The nonprofit organization provides peer support – fun, healthy and educational group activities – for kids and teens going through cancer treatment or in remission. 
 
“Due to their diagnosis, they were missing out on experiences and the typical life of a kid," says Paliouras. So Lending Hearts' monthly programs “keep them looking ahead, out of the hospital.” The group activities are “something unique we can provide to them.”
 
That has included a special pre-show program at a performance of the Pittsburgh Ballet's "Nutcracker" each year, with a behind-the-scenes look at a new aspect of the show. At the end, the kids are encouraged to get up and dance with the characters.
 
Another popular activity, says Paliouras, was "An Afternoon with the Penguins." While a Penguins away game played on a large-screen television, the kids enjoyed visits from the Penguins mascot and penguins from the National Aviary.
 
“After that event, a father sent me an email," Paliouras recalls. The father explained that his child had been having trouble adjusting to remission and normal life after cancer. He concluded the email: "That event just made a whole difference in my child’s outlook.”
 
Paliouras says she would like to develop an online extension of their activities – “What do we do when they can’t actually join us?” Through the group's website, the virtual Lending Hearts “will be parallel to what we do through other means and other supportive measures.”
 
The group is also holding its second annual Lending Hearts Gala, at which they will honor former Pittsburgh Steeler Merril Hoge, who in 2003 was diagnosed with stage two Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, on Feb. 27.
 
Paliouras' sister, happily, is now in remission.
 
“Everybody gets something different out of it," concludes Paliouras about the group's efforts, "and we hope it is making a difference for as many people as possible."
 
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Vasso Paliouras, Lending Hearts

Women candidates and campaigners get one-day primer

“Ready to Run Campaign Training for Women” – both campaign workers and candidates – is set once again for Jan. 25 from the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University.
 
“It’s bi-partisan, of course,” says the center's executive director, Dana Brown. “And it's one day, which is certainly a bit of a challenge.”
 
That's because the event covers navigating the political party structure, running for judge, media training, fundraising, public speaking and developing a campaign plan. Trainers include Deb Scofield, president of Executive Speech & Presentations Coaching, and Nancy Bocskor, author of Go Fish: How to Catch (and Keep) Contributors: A Practical Guide to Fundraising.
 
The keynote will be given by Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, who will talk about her experience and what women candidates need to know before embarking on their own campaigns.
 
“Even though I do this every year I always take away new things myself,” says Brown.
 
Fewer than 25 percent of state legislative offices are held by women, she points out, and the state has never had a female senator or governor. There are several barriers to entering politics, she acknowledges.
 
No one likes the lack of privacy that candidates endure, and the negativity in campaigns. For women, the political party structure can throw up barriers as well, Brown says: "It's a little less friendly to women ... It was created by men, so any time they’re expanding they tend to pull from their networks.”
 
Women are also more affected by the work/life imbalance of a political career, since women still tend to be primary caretakers of children and aging parents.
 
While this event has greater attendance in odd-numbered years – when local political races happen – campaigning is still a desired skill, she says. “While a lot of folks actually are down [on politics] because of what we see in Congress or federally, locally there does seem to be consistent interest. My job is to get women off the fence.”
 
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Dana Brown, Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics

Student with tough time communicating? Art Expression helps

Art, says Angela Lowden, founder of Art Expression, can bring students of different abilities and social groups together. “They are able to express themselves, value each other’s differences and see each other in a very different light, and often they become friends,” Lowden says.
 
Art Expression, a Mt. Lebanon nonprofit, got its start in 2001 when Lowden approached her school district with the idea of bringing art therapists, although not strictly art therapy, to help students improve their social skills and problem solving, learn confidence, become independent, and even discover how to react to bullying appropriately.
 
“We use art therapists as our art facilitators because they are sensitive to our students’ needs,” says Lowden, an Art Institute graduate who also has a teaching degree from Duquesne University. Art Expression has a variety of programs, including one that focuses on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) to enhance students' academic skills while they're having fun with art materials.
 
In April, Art Expression was named one of 50 finalists for the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, chosen from among more than 300 nominees from 49 states.
 
Today, the organization is in seven school districts in four counties, as well as community centers and a dozen homeless shelters.
 
“When I walk into a shelter," says one of the nonprofit's art facilitators, Cheryl Silinskas, "I know that I am walking into a group that is experiencing crisis. The kids aren’t 100 percent aware of what is happening, but they know things aren’t working at home.
 
“Sometimes what surfaces through art is that, oh, here’s a child who experienced a death in the family and no one at the school knows about it.”
 
The kids value that Silinskas and her colleagues are available to them, she says. “This is their great opportunity to be in a school setting … and be able to deal with what is weighing on them.”
 
In school classrooms, adds Silinskas, “often they will talk about what is happening in their lives, things that during the school day they need to express and that really has nowhere to go.”
 
“We see a lot of children of divorce as well" in classrooms, says Lowden, "and they are able to express their stress.”
 
The art, adds Silinskas, "is all about making mistakes and getting through that. They’re always thrown when I come in and begin, ‘I’m going to teach you to make the worst possible painting.' It shifts their focus” from trying to be perfect in school at all times.
 
“They feel peaceful after these sessions …," says Lowden, "and the teachers are amazed as well. They make great teams, the teachers and our art facilitators.”
 
Art Expression is seeking new school district partners in more rural and urban districts, says Lowden: “I believe in helping all children" – especially, she adds, "because those children don’t get the services the children get in suburban areas.”
 
Writer: Marty Levine
Sources: Angela Lowden and Cheryl Silinskas, Art Expression
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