WonderArts Attends NEK Day at the State House!

WonderArts Executive Director Ceilidh Galloway - Kane and Americorps Vista Volunteer attended the first annual NEK Day at the Vermont State house on January 31st. The all-day event was organized by the NEK Collaborative and brought together dozens of individuals from the Northeast Kingdom. Throughout the day leaders testified before committees about challenges and successes.

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During the Rural Economic Caucus Ceilidh spoke about the importance of believing in Rural Economies, providing tools and creative opportunities to students, and making resources available to individuals in the NEK. The day culminated in an ice cream social and tabling event where Jake Lester, our AmeriCorps member, talked to legislators about the Spark project. We can’t wait to attend next years NEK Day!

Take a look at the NEK Collaborative NEK Day Handout to read about Northeast Kingdom statistics, sucess stories, and more.

NEK Kids on the Move joins WonderArts!

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Last Spring, NEK Kids on the Move director Katharine Ingram and Founder Sarah Morgan met with WonderArts director Ceilidh Galloway - Kane to talk about ways in which they could strengthen collaborations around afterschool enrichment. The two groups have been providing afterschool programs in recreation, art, and wellbeing to the community (collectively) for over 20 years. After this discussion, an idea formed. Wouldn't our programs be stronger together?

After multiple strategic planning meetings, board meetings, and conversations a decision was made to have NEK Kids on the Move join WonderArts as a program. This decision is a natural evolution of a years-long collaboration that means making the most of shared resources and delivering bigger impact to our community.

As a program of WonderArts, NEK Kids on the Move will continue to work with and support after-school program providers as well as the larger community to provide opportunities for healthy movement, outdoor recreation, and creative expression for children and their families.

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Already our impact is outstanding. This fall, we have held and supported 8 to 10 after-school classes a week at Craftsbury, Albany, Hardwick, Woodbury, and Wolcott. These programs are a combination of direct service and mini-grants for schools that encourage creative expression, nature-based education, recreation, and healthy habits. As we look forward we will be working with REACH!, local schools, and community partners to evaluate our current program models and make sure that we are providing relevant and necessary programs to this community. As our school programs grow we are working to build the capacity, impact, and sustainability of this work. Over the next two years, some of our goals include providing greater access to our programs by bringing opportunities to new schools, expanding curricular offerings at current schools, growing cross-sector partnerships, providing professional development, diversifying funding, and continuing to be a positive support for youth enrichment in rural communities.

Questions about NEK Kids on the Move? Contact program coordinator Katherine Ingram, katherine@wonderartsvt.org

History of NEK Kids on the Move and WonderArts

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NEK Kids on the Move has been supporting the community through after-school programs and community programs including the Spring Fest Fun Run and Grow Your Own. Last year we supported after-school programs in the towns of Albany, Craftsbury, Hardwick, Greensboro, Wolcott, and Woodbury, by funding student experiences in recreation, movement, outdoor education, and culinary arts. NEK Kids on the Move first took shape in the spring of 2012 as the result of conversations among a group of concerned local educators, health professionals and fitness enthusiasts who were eager to do something to address the growing problem of poor nutrition and under-activity of our area’s youth.  Dr. Sarah Morgan, a local physician who helped lead these conversations, had prior experience with a walking program for overweight youth that unfortunately was not terribly successful, and this experience, as well as extensive research into what would make for a more successful intervention, informed the design of NEK Kids on the Move.   

WonderArts is a community arts non-profit supporting our region through programs for children & youth, activities for adults, cultural opportunities for the community, economic development through the spark project, and more! We believe that by coming together we are able to offer more diverse, expansive, and creative opportunities to the communities of Craftsbury, Greensboro, Hardwick, and beyond. We continue to be dedicated to serving children, youth, adults, and families through the arts, recreation, nature, wonder, and life-long learning. You can find out more about what we do at www.wonderartsvt.org or by calling 802-533-9370.

Happy New Year!

Dear friends,

What is one word that you would use to describe 2018? For us…it is simply WOW.

As the first full calendar year of WonderArts comes to a close we are astounded by our impact, programs, partnerships, growth, and support. When we started this entity we knew it was a good (although a bit risky) decision. We never imagined that in a year we would become one of the most relevant regional community non-profits.

Campers During Farm Camp!

Campers During Farm Camp!

Over the past year, we have led over 400 activities and programs teaching all ages from 6 months to over 90. Our reach has been focused on Craftsbury and Greensboro but programs have served and brought together people from Hardwick, Wolcott, Woodbury, Albany, Standard, Johnson, Lyndonville, Glover, Newport, Montpelier, and beyond. Direct programs include preschool movement, Summer Camps, After School Creativity, NEK Kids on the Move, in school residencies, entrepreneurship talks at high schools, internships, adult classes, senior programs, in focus films, galleries at Sterling, environmental ed at the Community Greenspace, and more. All told these programs have served over 1,300 community members.

Not only are we providing relevant programs to our communities but we also work throughout the region on advocacy for the arts and rural towns. WonderArts staff are invited to speak at Vermont After School, be on the local planning commission & school boards, lend expertise to community projects, and sit on regional committees.

It is a wonder that our small yet dedicated staff (one full time director and 4 part-time staff) can do it all…but we are not alone! We are able to pull this off thanks to teaching artists & professionals, volunteers, board members, grants, business sponsors, partnering organizations, individual donors, and participants.

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As we look forward to 2019 we remain dedicated to our work and are thrilled to be finishing a strategic planning process that will enable us to be sustainable, nimble, and even more impactful. We welcome you to reach out and join us for any number of our community events and classes!

Thank you for an incredible year and have a safe, fun, and joyful New Year!

With Gratitude,

Ceilidh Galloway-Kane