OperaDelaware Receives New Funds from Arsht-Cannon for Children’s Project

WILMINGTON, Del. – OperaDelaware announced today that its Neighborhood Choir program has received $15,000 in new funds from the Arsht-Cannon Fund. These dollars will ensure that this program for children in underserved communities remains strong and viable in 2016.

Approximately 150 children receive the gift of music during after school programs at Lewis Elementary School and the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington, and at Oberle Elementary School in Bear. The project is overseen by Kimberly Doucette, OperaDelaware’s education director. Doucette also is artistic director for the 150-member Wilmington Children’s Chorus.

“We are delighted to continue this program, and we’re grateful that the Arsht-Cannon Fund recognizes the importance of delivering high-quality music education to students in underserved communities,” said OperaDelaware General Director Brendan Cooke. “These dollars ensure that we eliminate any barriers children might face in receiving after-school music training.”

Cooke added that those barriers sometimes can be significant.

“Consider a child who loves to sing, but whose parents work long hours after school or can’t afford music training. Under this program, transportation and financial barriers are eliminated simply by bringing the choir training to the school or community center.”

This “satellite-site” model for musical training has been used with great success as exemplified by the Chicago Children’s Choir’s use of neighborhood choirs. By having community center or school staff participate in the operation of the program, children are assured they receive the support they need to attend rehearsals and practice the music.

Students in this year’s Neighborhood Choirs, who range in age from Kindergarten to fifth grade, are busily getting ready for their winter concerts.

“While the students are eager to show all they’ve learned, we also know this program is more than concerts,” Doucette said. “In our work with the Wilmington Children’s Chorus, we’ve learned that exposure to musical training and the arts can be life-changing for children in underserved communities. This project makes it easy for more children to grow through a curriculum that values beautiful singing and musicianship while developing leadership, focus and positive social interaction.”

“The WCC is very gifted at training young voices,” Cooke said. “We believe that the musical foundation and solid vocal technique that the WCC provides will increase our pool of talented singers and, perhaps more importantly, future audience members who are excited and moved by the sound of the unamplified human voice. That’s a win for us, for the arts community, and for the students as well.”

Link: broadwayworld.com

OperaDelaware’s Neighborhood Choir Program gets $15,000 grant

OperaDelaware announced  its Neighborhood Choir program has received $15,000 from the Arsht-Cannon Fund.  The funding  will ensure that this program for children in underserved communities remains strong and viable in 2016, a release stated.

Approximately 150 children are part of  school programs at Lewis Elementary School and the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington, and at Oberle Elementary School in Bear.  The project is overseen by Kimberly Doucette, OperaDelaware’s education director.  Doucette also is artistic director for the 150-member Wilmington Children’s Chorus.

“We are delighted to continue this program, and we’re grateful that the Arsht-Cannon Fund recognizes the importance of delivering high-quality music education to students in underserved communities,” said OperaDelaware General Director Brendan Cooke.  “These dollars ensure that we eliminate any barriers children might face in receiving after-school music training.”

Cooke added that those barriers sometimes can be significant.

“Consider a child who loves to sing, but whose parents work long hours after school or can’t afford music training. Under this program, transportation and financial barriers are eliminated simply by bringing the choir training to the school or community center.”

This “satellite-site” model for musical training has been used with great success as exemplified by the Chicago Children’s Choir’s use of neighborhood choirs.  By having community center or school staff participate in the operation of the program, children are assured they receive the support they need to attend rehearsals and practice the music.

Students in this year’s Neighborhood Choirs, who range in age from Kindergarten to fifth grade, are getting ready for their winter concerts.

“While the students are eager to show all they’ve learned, we also know this program is more than concerts,” Doucette said.  “In our work with the Wilmington Children’s Chorus, we’ve learned that exposure to musical training and the arts can be life-changing for children in underserved communities. This project makes it easy for more children to grow through a curriculum that values beautiful singing and musicianship while developing leadership, focus and positive social interaction.”

“The WCC is very gifted at training young voices,” Cooke said. “We believe that the musical foundation and solid vocal technique that the WCC provides will increase our pool of talented singers and, perhaps more importantly, future audience members who are excited and moved by the sound of the unamplified human voice. That’s a win for us, for the arts community, and for the students as well.”

Link: delawarebusinessnow.com

Bilingual education in the First State

Flores teaches a kid to write a Spanish sight word in shaving cream.

Delaware Public Media’s Anne Hoffman sat down with Andrea Flores, a bilingual first grade teacher, to talk about education’s changing landscape in Delaware.
Education is the theme of Thursday’s second annual Delaware Latino Summit. Specifically, the summit is focusing on training more First State teachers to be culturally competent.

Andrea Flores is an example of what that could look like.

Flores is bilingual and teaches first grade, entirely in Spanish, at La Academia Antonia Alonso Charter School.

“When you’re younger, it’s easier to learn a language,” she said. “You’re more open to it. Your walls are not up, and you are open to the idea, and it’s exciting, it’s fun.”

Flores is the kind of teacher Delaware’s officials, like Gov. Jack Markell, and Latino leaders, such as Hispanic Commission co-chair Javier Torrijo, want to attract. She’s bilingual and a first-generation American whose family came from Mexico.

Link: http://delawarepublic.org/

Strong and Healthy Latinas event celebrates 10 years of bringing Hispanic community together for good health

The 10th annual Latinas Fuertes y Saludables — Strong and Healthy Latinas — conference, Oct. 24 at Bayard Middle School in Wilmington, combined equal parts education, health services and celebration.

Latinas Fuertes y Saludables is a special program presented entirely in Spanish for women of all ages and their families. The event included health education, free health services, a celebration for cancer survivors and performances by local dance groups.

The day began with a 9 a.m. Zumba class that had participants of all ages out of their seats, dancing energetically. The festive atmosphere continued through the afternoon.

Christiana Care’s Health Ambassador Program, led by Carla Aponte, hosted a Latina baby shower promoting the importance of perinatal care.
Christiana Care’s Health Ambassador Program, led by Carla Aponte, hosted a Latina baby shower promoting the importance of perinatal care.

This year the event was sponsored by Christiana Care and partners the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Susan G. Komen Philadelphia, Westside Family Healthcare, the Latin American Community Center, the American Cancer Society, the Arsht Cannon Fund, St. Francis Healthcare and the Henrietta Johnson Medical Center, which provided 117 flu shots to attendees throughout the day. St. Francis Healthcare’s team of volunteers provided 48 blood pressure screenings and sugar screenings.

Christiana Care Imaging Services provided 31 osteoporosis screenings. Other partners included Astra Zeneca, Christiana Care Health Ambassadors, the Hispanic Nurses Association and Avon Breast Health Program. Volunteers from the partner organizations set up tables in the school’s gymnasium to provide information on the health and community resources each organization had to offer.

Nora Katurakes, MSN, RN, OCN, manager of the Community Health Outreach and Education Program at Christiana Care and co-leader of the event, emphasized growth and the importance of 10 years of partnerships with other sponsors.

“A decade ago, we started this event to address women’s breast health in the Hispanic community,” Katurakes said. “Today, while breast health is still at the core of our focus, we have expanded to include programs on diabetes, childcare, mental health, dialogue in the community and free health services such as blood pressure and osteoporosis screenings. The success we are having is the result of a joint effort over the past 10 years between Christiana Care and all of the outstanding partners we have had. We couldn’t do it by ourselves.”

Carlos Dipres, formerly a volunteer with the American Cancer Society, was there representing Delaware Start, a program that connects families and children with preschools and day-care centers in New Castle County. He has participated in the event since it began. “The first year we had about 90 people,” Dipres said. “Each year the event has grown, and now we have women who came when they were children who are bringing their own children. It shows that we are taking care of ourselves.”

The Promotoras de Salud, a dedicated and spirited group of volunteers trained to provide information and resources to women in the community, were on hand interacting with attendees and even signing up new women to take part in their program. A major focus was directing attendees to the mammogram booth, where women were able to sign up to get screenings and make follow-up appointments. Throughout the day, 78 women, ages 40 and older, signed up to get mammograms or make follow-up appointments, an increase from the previous year.

Joined by Latin American Community Center President Maria Matos and Wilmington City Councilwomen Maria Cabrera, Hanifa Shabazz and Sherry Dorsey Walker, Nora Katurakes, MSN, RN, OCN, Christiana Care’s manager of Community Health Outreach & Education and co-leader of the event, displays a proclamation for outstanding work presented by the City Council to Christiana Care.
Joined by Latin American Community Center President Maria Matos and Wilmington City Councilwomen Maria Cabrera, Hanifa Shabazz and Sherry Dorsey Walker, Nora Katurakes, MSN, RN, OCN, Christiana Care’s manager of Community Health Outreach & Education and co-leader of the event, displays a proclamation for outstanding work presented by the City Council to Christiana Care.

The day also included a look back at a decade of accomplishments for this important community resource that Hispanic women have come to count on for health and social information. Joceline Valentin, event co-leader and community outreach coordinator for Christiana Care, presented a slideshow highlighting 10 years of progress and outreach in the community. Three members of the Wilmington City Council, Maria Cabrera, Sherry Dorsey Walker and Hanifa Shabazz, presented Christiana Care with a proclamation for its outstanding work. Councilwoman Cabrera commended the attendees for their participation: “It’s because of you all, and your participation, that we can continue to have this event, and have survivors who teach and strengthen our communities.”

One such survivor was Maria Matos, president of the Latin American Community Center, diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago. She spoke about preventive care and the importance of family history in risk assessment, a theme that was echoed throughout the day. She also spoke about the power of speaking out about issues like breast cancer.

“10 years ago, no one in the Hispanic community would talk about breast cancer,” Matos said. “This event has given people a chance to tell their stories and allowed others to hear them.”

More than half of the 360 people who attended the conference were there for a second time. A few, like Nimia Burgos, have attended every single year.

“It’s very important to learn about our health and how to take care of ourselves,” Burgos said. “This is one of the few places where I can get the information that I need in Spanish. I really love it!”

At the end of the day, the Christiana Care Health Ambassador Program, led by Carla Aponte, hosted a Latina baby shower promoting the importance of perinatal care. New and expecting mothers received guidance on topics including proper nutrition and developmental milestones for children. Kids participated in group songs and reading activities. A few lucky winners went home with raffle prizes.

Cancer survivor Elena Blanco Allende left Bayard Middle School with a smile on her face.

“Cancer is for real. It’s a struggle,” Allende said. “But days like today help me heal, think positively and give back to the community. It’s really great.”

Link: christiancare.org