Grants Give CARES Students Exposure to Arts and Culture

Canopy Children’s Solutions (Canopy) was awarded special‐project grants funded in part by Mississippi Talent Education, the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC), and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The grants supported week‐long music, dance, and culture classes for approximately 60 children ages seven to 17 at the Canopy CARES Center Jackson.

“Most of our kids haven’t had the opportunity to be exposed to art or culture,” said Andrea Baldwin, recreation coordinator for Canopy. “Many have never been to a play or a concert, much less had the opportunity to learn first‐hand about people and cultures from around the world. We are so grateful for this grant, and we’re excited to bring this experience to our kids.”

ARtist Jerry Jenkins integrates West African Drumming into curriculum

The classes were led by Mississippi musician Jerry Jenkins. He taught the children how culture defines different groups, but also brings people of diverse backgrounds together. In addition to leading discussions about the cultures of Western Africa, he provided authentic animal hide drums for the children to experiment with. Jenkins also shared the African tradition of storytelling through song inviting the children to participate in a storytelling role play called Kuku.

“Playing the drums was really cool and helped me to clear my mind,” said Chris, age 14, who is a resident at the CARES Center Jackson. “You focus so much on the rhythm that you don’t even know what your hands are doing. It was like the drums almost played themselves. You just played what you felt.”

Classes ComplemenT and Reinforce Canopy’s Therapy Methods

Canopy uses a variety of traditional and non‐traditional therapeutic methods including music, art, writing, and recreation to evoke self‐healing and encourage children to participate in new experiences. The goal of engaging in a variety of therapeutic activities is to teach children how to thrive in adversity by utilizing healthy coping skills. The concepts and life lessons Jenkins presented to the kids reinforced skills the children develop at the CARES Center.

Program Funding Made Possible by the Mississippi Arts Commission

One of the grants that supported this project is a small portion of the $1.65 million in grants MAC will award during the 2017 fiscal year to support the commission’s mission of cultural engagement and arts education within Mississippi communities. The grants are made possible through additional funding approved through:

Do you have interest in helping provide further cultural and educational experiences to students of Canopy’s CARES School? Please read the school’s needs list or click here to donate.