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Thanks to the California Arts Council for honoring Create Now with a grant from their Youth Arts Action initiative. Through their support, we provided 35 at-risk students at Logan Elementary and Middle School in Echo Park with our “Create a Show” performing arts classes. Kids learned to sing with Melinda Salcido and dance hip hop with Cina McKenna.

Melinda said, “As I cleaned up the classroom, I heard my students singing the song we were learning at the top of their lungs outside! Then they stopped me as I left and asked to sing it again. It was magical.”

Veronica, a staff member who supervised our programs remarked, “The kids were able to sing in English and Spanish. They’re so inspired and whenever we do an activity, they love to sing the songs Melinda taught them. They really enjoy it.”

The Mockingbird Foundation also funded a guitar workshop for these students, taught by Pat Fernandez. Student Mary stated, “I like to play guitar. It’s a  bit challenging and I like to challenge myself. First you need to learn the strings to learn the chords, and it’s hard to do without looking at it.”

Students came to our three after-school workshops during 12 weeks. Sofia, who is 12 years-old, loved our dance class. “It’s not hard and it’s really fun. I liked dancing with a partner.”

There were two different culmination events for “Create a Show.” The first was on December 16 when our singing and guitar students came together to perform along with students attending Gabriella Charter School, which shares the same campus. They were part of a special ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch their new playground. Our students were introduced by LAUSD Local District Central Superintendent Roberto Martinez, School Board Member Jackie Goldberg and Logan School Principal Melissa Shelton.

Then on December 18, all the kids performed for their families, teachers, friends and peers. They received unique Certificates of Completion and Create Now t-shirts. Most importantly, these kids relished the attention, warm responses and applause from their loved ones. This was an opportunity to overcome insecurities and stage fright, which helps to build self-esteem.

Principal Shelton noted, “We’re very grateful for our partnership with Create Now. Logan is in a lower-economic community. Our students are in need of the arts since they don’t often have opportunities. These programs have built their confidence and I’m seeing them thrive. We’re excited about future partnerships and collaboration with Create Now.”

None of this would have been possible without the California Arts Council and the Mockingbird Foundation. We’re very grateful that they made “Create a Show” an incredible experience for these children.