On Thursday afternoon 1st Source Bank of Michigan City generously donated $5,000 dollars to the Lubeznik Center for the Arts to fund their Literacy Through the Art program. Rather than just presenting them with a giant check, employees from the 1st Source came to Edgewood Elementary School to see exactly who their donation was helping.
The Lubeznik Center for the Arts is a non-profit organization located in Michigan City. dedicated to providing the community a dynamic and creative place for art exhibits, performing arts and educational programs. Despite their reach in the community, the center’s commitment to education is still relatively unknown.
“One of our lesser known programs is Safe Harbor Enrichment Program in the Michigan City area schools,” Amy Davis, Marketing Director for the Lubeznik Center, explained. “Safe Harbor provides after school enrichment for students and the Lubzenik Center delivers the arts component of that.”
For over ten years, the Lubeznik Center has worked with the Safe Harbor Enrichment Program to bring art to students in a fun, creative and educational way. Their current collaborative project is the Literacy Through the Arts Program, an interactive curriculum that connects reading and writing to art.
“This program takes what the kids learned in a book and helps them bring it to life,” Dianne Debald, the Site Coordinator for Edgewood Elementary School. “Art isn’t just about making something; there’s a little bit more depth to art and the kids are learning that in a creative way.”
The curriculum is a twelve week unit for each age group that is broken up into three four-week units. During each unit, the students read a book, then take what they have learned and apply it to two visual art projects.
This unit, students read the book The Curious Garden, by Peter Brown and using the two literacy standards addressed in the text, prediction, and transformation, the students created seed balls, filled with written wishes acting as predictions, that will be planted in the elementary school’s and the Lubeznik Center’s gardens. The second project will be a collage of a cityscape made of different materials to “green” the cityscape, teaching the students how they can transform the world.
“Being able to write this curriculum is one of the most beautiful things I get to do in this community,” said Abby May, the Development Manager for Safe Harbor and Literary Specialist for Lubeznik Center. “To be able to use art to give these students a deeper understanding of literacy and an enhanced comprehension is absolutely fantastic.”
All of this started two years ago when 1st Source bank awarded a grant to fund the program. This Thursday was the second time the bank has helped fund the Literacy Through the Arts program.
“It’s critically important to fund after school programs like this one,” Matt Vessely, Regional President of 1st Source Bank, said. “The Literacy Through the Arts program was especially appealing to us because it’s a creative way to use art, to teach something that’s ultimately one of the most important things: literacy.”
Rather than just presenting a giant check, Vessely and two other associates, Karrie Krumnow and Kelly Woloszyn, attended the after school program Thursday afternoon and while they are there, the three interacted with the children and took part in making the same art project, the seed balls that will later be planted in the gardens.
“We put this event together because we wanted a way to let the people who are supporting the Literacy Through the Arts see exactly what they are funding,” Davis explained. “We wanted to let them see first hand how kids are being impacted by their generous donations.”
While the children played with clay and seeds, told jokes and stories and made everyone feel at home, the associates from 1st Source Bank saw their dollars at work. Because of its donation, 1st Source Bank has shown how dedicated it is to education and philanthropy in the Michigan City schools and community.
“It’s really amazing to see corporations and individuals come in and support programs like this,” Davis explained. “They’re really impacting the students who really need it the most, and they get to see that in effect today.”