Friends of Elysian Heights is excited to host the 2nd annual Echo Park Stories and Festival this Saturday from 4-8 at Elysian Heights Elementary.
The stories and music program starts at 5:30 and we've got some great participants lined up, thanks to Echo Country Outpost: Olentangy John, Fort King will be playing and Echo Park's own RJ Smith, author of the The One: The Life and Music of James Brown, will be one of our neighborhood storytellers.
The proceeds of this year's event will go to the new after school enrichment program, which is a FREE arts and athletics program for all Elysian Heights students. Inspired by the vision of Elysian Heights 1st grade teacher Martha Smith, who is also a classical ballet instructor, teachers and parents have pulled the program together with no outside funding. Currently, the program offers theater, ballet, violin, karate, gymnastics, music, art, and knitting.
Because of the severe budget cuts, a Title One school like Elysian Elementary faces numerous challenges in getting art, music and physical education into the school as regular programs and it must look to the surrounding community for support. The enrichment classes are currently taught by volunteers - Elysian Heights parents and Echo Park residents. Teaching the classes has given parents the opportunity to connect with other students, which helps to strengthen a sense of community within the school. Integrating the different grades in the more structured environment of a classroom has promoted the values of empathy and respect among the students.
Art, music and physical education are fundamental components to a child's education but with the priority on high stakes testing and the dramatic cuts, these subjects have been all but banished from most of the public school curriculums, especially those with a lower income student population. Since the enrichment program began last November, faculty and staff at the school have noticed an increase in the confidence levels of those students who participate, especially in regard to their performance in regular school subjects.
You can support this much needed program by showing up, enjoying some good food and hearing great music and stories from the neighborhood.
Admission is FREE!!!