By Arianna Ross, CEO of Story Tapestries
Creating possibilities for children to fall in love with learning. The partnership between local Non-Profits like Story Tapestries and businesses make a HUGE difference in how our children and families feel supported.
Just watch their eyes light up with JOY!: https://youtu.be/mVFyc4zPJJA
The video shared above is just one example of the power of collaboration. It came about with the support of individuals like local businesses and community partners who are invested in your community, alongside local businesses, educators, and artists. Story Tapestries has witnessed over and over again the incredible power of the arts to shift the dynamics so community members focus on what “WE” can create, realizing the capacity we each have to create possibility for another person.
It is so exciting and humbling to see businesses stepping up and supporting the ability to make this kind of “magic” happen. Our network - that’s you, another local member of the Bethesda Chamber of Commerce - is a true gift as you’re constantly thinking about how you can support the community through giving back to one of your partners, volunteering or…...
The question that you might be asking is how does this happen? Sometimes a business reaches out to a non-profit like Story Tapestries and asks the organization for our support in marketing their products. Other times, a business has a social philanthropic policy and the non-profit aligns with their giving philosophy. Either way, once the partnership is born, magic happens and the organizations work together for the good of the community.
For example, local business contributions have expanded the reach of arts programs to over 350,000 community members this year - WOW! Their support has grown beyond a simple donation of dollars to a true partnership that values the capacity for the arts to impact learning. The shift began with conversations with local business owners like Dottie Fitzgerald of Fitz Auto Mall. When Dottie heard about the urgent issues community members were facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was moved to action. Families did not have the tools they needed to support strong, passionate, committed, thoughtful learners. Youth were failing - struggling academically as well as emotionally - and the education gap was growing. Parents were mentally exhausted and worried about how to make ends meet while also helping their children be successful. Story Tapestries had a proven solution: provide access to supplies and engaging learning opportunities that use the arts to make the information and experience fun and inclusive of all. Dottie, and others, jumped in to make sure the youth who needed these resources the most had access.
As a result, students expanded their minds and discovered a LOVE of learning!
Most recently, a teacher at Charles Drew Elementary School said, “Jonathan, he struggles to learn. He has not given an authentic answer all year. But this past month (working with a Story Tapestries teaching artist) he wrote four poems. He shined. He came out of his shell.” Another teacher shared that her students treasure the supplies they received in their arts and literacy kit like they are gold because before we sent them their pens, pencils, markers and journals, they used to do their math on paper towels.
After listening, community members like Dottie and her team at Fitz Auto Malls truly stepped up. They made a cash donation so that Story Tapestries could immediately get started buying supplies and providing effective programs. After speaking with their managers, they set in motion a supply drive with two of their dealerships to gather further supplies. In a short period of time, they collected 1,140 items that we used to put together 400 arts and literacy kits! After they stepped up to the plate, other businesses and nonprofits stepped in and joined the effort. Last year, to complement our virtual and in-person programs, we gave out 9,000+ arts and literacy kits. The need is still great, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with you to expand our reach to 10,000 more youth who can’t wait to receive their own kit!
The key is that the business partnered with an organization to support the community. Together we were stronger.
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