2009-06-26 / Letters

Save KidsmART

Dear Editor,

To Our Elected Officials,

We are writing to you in our capacity both as co-presidents of the PS/ MS 114 PTA and as parents.

The Rockaway Artists Alliance kidsmART program is many things to many people (adults and children alike). For parents it is a safe, nurturing, stimulating environment wherein their children are exposed to theatre, art, dance and music. For children it is also a safe, nurturing, stimulating environment, but it is much more than that. It is a place where children can be exposed to the arts, express themselves through the arts, receive academic assistance, make life-long friends and most important of all, discover hidden talents they never knew existed within themselves. Unlocking the talents in our children will last a lifetime and foster positive self-esteem and encourage positive future development.

We have witnessed firsthand the importance and success of this program. Between our two families, four of our children currently attend the kidsmART Program and another older child was a counselor. Our younger children come home enthused, proud and often truly surprised by what they have accomplished while at the program. The artwork is amazing and thanks to theatre workshops, their self-confidence has soared to new heights. The teenager of our group also enjoyed a strong feeling of self-confidence and sense of accomplishment when she successfully guided and assisted the children through the various components of the program.

Due to past budget cuts and the strong possibility of future budget cuts within the DOE, unfortunately, the Arts will be an area that will again be severely affected. Ultimately our children will be affected by the loss of enrichment programs in their schools. The kidsmART Program provides an invaluable service to over 500 children on the Rockaway peninsula. In addition to servicing over 500 children, kidsmART is a meaningful source of employment for local teens, college students and professional artists and educators. Additionally, many teenagers are given the ability to volunteer their time toward the community service component of their high school requirements, giving them an edge in the extremely competitive college application process.

We are imploring all of you to work together to keep the kidsmART Program from closing its doors. It is the only free after-school program of its kind in Rockaway. It is time for our Letters elected officials to band together for the good of their constituents and most importantly, for the good of our children and their future.

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