NBC 10 is proud to be part of a new initiative called “21st Century Solutions” - it’s an NBC Universal program that gives grants to nonprofit organizations that use unique approaches for changing and improving lives.
On January 18, NBC10 awarded three local organizations, who were selected from hundreds of applicants when the initiative was announced last year, with $100,000 in grant money to help improve the lives of young people living in our area.
NBC10 salutes First Person Arts, Community Partnership Schools, and Clay Studio for their continued dedication to serving young people through educational outreach and the arts.
First Person Arts, Philadelphia: $25,000 Grant
First Person Arts, founded in 2000, is a Philadelphia non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the drama of real life into memoir and documentary art. The group’s executive director, Jamie Brunson, says it gives people the power to connect and celebrate through the power of personal stories.
“Its life affirming and it completely can change the direction that you take,” Brunson told NBC10. “These are young people learning these skills that they are not going to learn anywhere else. We are thankful and excited to be able to reach more young people thanks to NBC10.”
Brunson says the money will be used to continue to help young people rebuild their lives by sharing their stories through community workshops and help with college and career preparation.
Monique Allen is one of the many examples of why the program is working. The 20-year-old was abandoned by her mother on a Philadelphia Street corner at just 4 years old and then abused while living in foster care. She watched as her twin brother was killed in a drive by shooting at age 8. Then a few years ago her young son died from cancer. Allen says she was able to confront her demons through the group’s storytelling program.
“You have to face problems every day of your life and if you don’t face them you are not going to be strong enough to deal with them,” Allen told NBC10.
Community Partnership Schools, North Philadelphia: $50,000
Community Partnership Schools, located in the heart of North Philadelphia, is an independent elementary school that provides pre-kindergarten and elementary age children from low-wealth, low-income backgrounds with a high-quality, affordable education that prepares them for lifelong success and strengthens the communities to which they belong.
Linn Vaughters, the Director of Enrollment, say the school plans to use the money to mentor their graduates and create more leaders.
“This money means that we can do more,” Vaughters said. “We can be even more innovative and come up with our own curriculum to help students stay motivated and develop culturally with field trips, books, tutoring programs, enrichment programs, and mentorship.”
They also help students stay motivated even after they graduate. Through their alumni program, the school stays connected to graduates by spending every 3rd Saturday offering everything from homework help to allowing students to vent about their new school.
“Thank you [NBC 10] from the bottom of my heart. If you did not provide this opportunity we would not be able to assist children in this way,” said Vaughters.
Clay Studio, Philadelphia: $25,000
The Clay Studio, located in the Old City section of Philadelphia, is a stepping stone for students fresh out of art school, offering affordable studio space, and shared equipment.
Through their educational program, artists from the studio plan to use the money to help Philadelphia public school students create Claymation videos – a perfect blend of art and technology.
“The idea is to make videos that can appear on YouTube from start to finish that are short animations, Annette Monnier told NBC10. “It’s not just about making sculpture but what else you can do with it, what are the possibilities out there for this medium and this is one that really stretched the boundaries and one that we think kids will really connect with.”
The money will also help artists purchase better equipment and help more students.
“A big thank you to NBC10, we are called to serve the community and this funding will allow us to do that,” said Chris Taylor.