Last fall, we awarded Harvardwood Heroes grants of $500 each to Harvard alums and Harvardwood members who are dedicated to using the arts to engage in meaningful service with four organizations worldwide. Now that it's been half a year since we selected our Heroes, we caught up with them recently to find out how the Harvardwood Heroes grant has impacted their amazing and diverse community service projects.
From Theodore Cheng AB '91 of Storytelling Arts, Inc. (Princeton, NJ):
"During the 2015-2016 school year, with the assistance of the Harvard Heroes Grant (in conjunction with other funding sources), SAI was able to serve the Paterson and Morristown, NJ communities by (1) finishing a three-year residency model with the Alexander Hamilton Academy; (2) providing In-Classroom Residency and Mentoring Program with St. Mary’s Preschool and School #19; (3) developing and executing the first year of a Creating Student Storyteller program with the Rosa L. Parks School of Fine & Performing Arts; and (4) teaching Middle School Youth Through the Art of Storytelling with the Frelinghuysen Middle School."
Grant sponsored by Patric Verrone & Maiya Verrone Williams
From Marissa Gutiérrez-Vicario EDM '13 of ARTE (New York, NY):
"Through the generous support of the Harvardwood Heroes Fund, one of our students will be awarded an academic scholarship in order to continue their studies after high school. For our students, this scholarship is incredibly important, as many of them may not be able to access federal funding due to their immigration status. Furthermore, Art & Resistance Through Education (ARTE) believes it is important for our students to feel empowered as individuals. We want them to understand that their voice matters and that they are capable of making positive change in their communities, particularly on pressing human rights issues that directly affect them. As one of our students, Meylin, 16, best says it, 'The message of my project is to show that people can fly. I chose to break the stereotype that people have limits; humans can fly high and reach as far as we want.' Thank you for giving ARTE and our students the opportunity to fly."
Grant sponsored by Jeff Sagansky
From Margot Kessler AB '77 of Venice Arts (Venice, CA):
"Working with Venice Arts, and their DIRECT THIS class, I have had the pleasure of meeting some truly inspirational kids.... Our field trip to YOUTUBE occurred in the middle of shooting [their] final short movie. The kids got to visit a green screen room, explore the equipment and props bay and experiment with a dolly camera.... On our final day of editing, several declared the YouTube visit had been the highlight of the year. The Harvardwood grant was helpful both as an entrée to YouTube, and in giving these hard-working, inspiring and creative kids a sense of possibility (and of cool factor) as they head into high school. If you want to know more about them, definitely take a look at their short movies at the Venice Arts YouTube channel."
Grant sponsored by David Alpert & Mia Riverton Alpert
From Margot Leger AB '13 of Margot's Murals (Johannesburg, South Africa):
"I applied for a Harvardwood Heroes Grant because I wanted to be able to make a larger contribution to communities that could do with more color. A lot of my previous murals have been for enterprises – like hostels, bars and cafes - as they had the ability to pay the supplies. With my Harvardwood Hero grant, I have been able to pick schools that didn’t have the capacity to pay for paint. It also allowed me to tackle larger murals, bigger than I had dreamed of before, because I had budget to buy the paint required for artwork of that scale.... In Kenya, I did three wall murals at Mekealas Academy. The primary school had burnt down completely when the thatch roof had caught on fire last Easter. They had rebuilt the classrooms by Christmas, and my murals added some rainbows to this resilient school.... I have not used up my Harvardwood grant yet, and I’m looking forward to painting more murals in France over the summer. I’ll be sharing my work on www.margotmedia.co.za."
Grant sponsored by Carlton & Christiane Cuse