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Hello Readers,

Welcome to the February edition of Laina’s SPARC blog, filled with lively recaps of an Education Fellow’s learning adventures.  February, although the shortest month of year, has proven to be just as productive as January 2018, with the constant bustling around the SPARC headquarters.  We kicked off the month with many enthralling events.  Specifically, we opened our Summer Camp registration, participated in Virginia’s 2018 Arts Advocacy Day, continued with Storytime at Barnes and Noble, and we launched our “ Bring a Friend Week.”   All these activities enable us to share SPARC’s excitement, fun, wonder, and love with our community.

A significant highlight of this month was participating in Virginia’s 2018 Arts Advocacy Day on February 1.  During Arts Advocacy Day, we met with our local legislators to voice our support of the arts, while communicating  the need for continuous public funding. It was extremely gratifying to attend this important and meaningful event  Our day began at the beautiful Carpenter Theatre, where the activities started with a legislative meet and greet.  We then proceeded to meetings with our state senators. The senators were very open to our pleas for support, and promised to do their best to ensure state funding for the arts would not decrease, but instead, hopefully increase. After our last meeting, we proceeded to the Senate chambers, where we sat in on a Senate session. During roll call, the participating organizations were introduced. I smiled proudly when SPARC was introduced.  As I was leaving the Capital building  at the end of this day, I felt empowered and inspired. It was an honour to be part of the thousands of individuals advocating for the arts on this 2018 Arts Advocacy Day.  I believe  this quote summarizes the importance of the arts:

“. . . the arts have been an inseparable part of the human journey; indeed, we depend on the arts to carry us toward the fullness of our humanity. We value them for themselves, and because we do, we believe knowing and practicing them is fundamental to the healthy development of our children’s minds and spirits. That is why, in any civilization – ours included – the arts are inseparable from the very meaning of the term ‘education.’ We know from long experience that no one can claim to be truly educated who lacks basic knowledge and skills in the arts.”  –National Standards for Arts Education 

After this rewarding day, I resumed my weekly fellowship commitments, one which included reading during Barnes and Noble Story Time event.  With Valentines’ Day around the corner, we were delighted to read “Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day is Cool,”  “If You Give a Cat a Cupcake,” and “Snuggle Puppy.” The children were thrilled when our SPARC lion made a special guest appearance.

Lastly, our SPARC building was extra lively this week with “Bring A Friend Week.”  During this special week, our students were able to bring a friend to class. It was wonderful to see many new faces. In our musical theatre classes, we taught our students, along with their friends, a dance number to, “I Can Go the Distance,” from Hercules. In addition, the joyful participants sang along to, “I Got a Golden Ticket,”  from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was impressive to see our brave new friends leave their inhibitions at the door, and dive right into our activities. I hope this was an enticing introduction to the creative and encouraging world of SPARC—Hopefully, we will  see these friends again at one of our many Summer camps.

Thank you for your continued interest and support!

Until next time,