Summer Arts for Needy Kids

The St. Francis Center is a food pantry for homeless and low-income families. They provide free showers, clothing and more to the neediest people in our DTLA neighborhood.

For the past three summers, they've hired Create Now to implement fun arts projects for 15-20 children ages 5-14. The kids had a blast making puppets with Lisa Friedman. They explored the abstract art of Matisse with Krysten Cunningham, then made their own original art.

The kids really enjoyed playing with actor Derrel Maury as they learned the history of acting and engaged in a variety of improv games.

Thanks to the St. Francis Center and Dan Murphy Foundation for making this summer camp possible for these disadvantaged children, who very much appreciated it.

Music For Young Children

Beth Sussman taught Musically Speaking to all the second-grade students (103 children) during 10 sessions at Rowan Avenue Elementary School in East Los Angeles, thanks to a grant from the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund. She guided the kids in fun, interactive games that included singing, dancing and

School principal Margarita Gutierrez remarked, "This program enriched our students' abilities to process language and build on vocabulary and foundational skills. Create Now is an amazing asset."

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Another music program took place at Urban Compass, which supports low-income children in Watts with programs to keep them safe. Create Now provided 20 pre-kinder children ages 3-5 with our Ready to Learn steady beat workshop, and they loved it!

Taught in just four classes by Kristen Herbert, these kids learned how to play musical instruments and sing as they bonded with their parents, who were given special training. One mother exclaimed, "My son wants to sing all the time now, and his spoken English has improved."

Thanks to the Jubilation Foundation and Tides Foundation for helping to make this program possible.

Check out this short video about our Ready to Learn program at Urban Compass.

"From Inspiration to Publication"

California ranks among the lowest states on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) because of the high number of English learners.  

Create Now strives to help disadvantaged students in Title 1 schools through our popular writing program, From Inspiration to Publication, where youth create stories and poems, plus draw cartoons. They use their imaginations to share ideas and collaborate to come up with a title and theme. The outcome is a published book, which they can treasure and show off to family and friends.

Thanks to the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, we recently implemented this program at Logan Middle School in Echo Park, where only 25% of the students are proficient in English. They created a wonderful book called "Weird Things." Check out this short video: 

We'd also like to express our appreciation to the Youth Policy Institute and their LA Promise Neighborhood initiative for enabling Create Now to launch the same program at Vaughan Middle School in Pacoima. Taught by Ron Raley, 20 children got to write a book called "Pieces of Us." They loved it! 
Edwin gushed, "This class is the highlight of the year! I've gotten so much joy. It brought out my inner potential. I've never been so confident in myself, or so committed to something in my life, not even video games!"

Allaleth remarked, "It was inspirational and motivational. I felt like I had finally found a place of my own."

Marlene shared, "I loved this class because I wrote my heart out and I learned a lot. This is the most I have EVER written."

As always, every child in Create Now's workshops received a gift bag filled with lasting souvenirs to remind them of their successes.

Ballet for At-Risk Youth

Watts is one of the poorestcommunities in Los Angeles. It has the highest percentage of families headed by a single parent, and one of the largest concentrations of gangs in Los Angeles County.

Kimberly McKinney is a probation officer at Nickerson Gardens and Imperial Courts in Watts, which are the biggest housing projects west of the Mississippi. She's been taking groups of probation youth on Create Now's Cultural Journey's program, so they can experience concerts and plays. 

When Kim brought some of these teenagers to see the Los Angeles Ballet, three of the girls fell in love with ballet and began taking dance classes. 

Kim remarked, "Two of these teenage girls taught ballet to six little girls at our housing projects, who now all want to be ballerinas based on what the older girls do. If it hadn't been for Create Now giving them the opportunity to see ballet, they would never have been exposed to that dance. Create Now is amazing. We really appreciate the kindness they show to underserved kids and those on probation.

Those teenage girls are busy now, so our volunteer Bianca Akula gave the children a ballet class, which they loved. Create Now will be providing the kids with more dance classes in the next couple of months so they can perform at our Talent Show this Spring. Stay tuned for more details about this upcoming event.