On occasion, I’ll use this column to give a big personal shout-out to a cause I deeply admire in our local world of family and children.
If you love the performing arts, and musical theater especially, I know of a charity that allows children from low income families to study performance in a supportive and sustaining way. It’s so inspiring. I once took an expatriate friend to the program’s culminating seasonal performance, and he described the experience as “the best thing that he’s seen in New York City in my 15 years here.”
Before I tell you more about it, first some personal context: Years ago, I got to know an exceptional high school photography program that was so good that year after year it changed the course of many young lives: Some of the kids in the program went on to become professional photographers, and whether they did or didn’t, most of them went on to college and life buoyed by the powerful lessons and personal satisfactions of cultivating a passion you enjoy, of owning serious responsibilities, of getting along with others so everyone wins.
Since then, you’ve never had to sell me on the importance of the arts for children, especially for children who don’t have easy access or regular exposure to the arts at home or at school.
Fast forward to a few summers ago: I saw the same kind of spirited and proud personal engagement in a group of teenagers from low-income backgrounds in a summer pilot program in the performance arts—meaning singing, dancing, acting, and even some film-making.
Well, I want that summer pilot program to be available to many more children—and not only in the summer but in a sustained year-round way.
So last spring, I signed on as a founding board member to launch the Applause Arts Foundation, to offer scholarships to provide a Performing Arts Education throughout the school year and summer to kids who would otherwise not have this opportunity.
Like that amazing photography program I witnessed years ago, I believe that through the performing arts, our foundation has the potential to engage and empower many young people, who will go on to do great things with their lives.
Please, take a look for yourself: applauseartsfoundation.org.
If you’re interested in learning more first hand, you can attend a cocktail reception and brief performance that I am co-hosting next week.
The event is on November 16, from 6:30-8pm, at Applause’s home, the St. Jean’s Community Center, at 184 East 76th Street, between Lexington Avenue and 3rd Avenue.
If you are able to join us for the event and see in person what these kids are accomplishing, that would be great.
If you can’t be there, I hope you will consider making a contribution.
You can RSVP to me, or to our Executive Director Kat Radin, at email@example.com.
Donations can be made online at the website, again its applauseartsfoundation.org.
Finally, if you think of a friend or two who would love this, please forward the note along. They are welcome to contact me directly.
You have my appreciation and my applause!
Eric Messinger, Editor, New York Family (firstname.lastname@example.org)