Students help enrich lives of at-risk youth

Loyola hosted Anna's Arts for Kids program during the summer.
Loyola hosted Anna's Arts for Kids program during the summer.

By James Shields, Communications Coordinator

The Office of Service Learning at Loyola has been partnering with organizations that serve at-risk youth throughout New Orleans for many years, and now one of those partnerships has welcomed some of these children to Loyola’s campus.

During June and July, approximately 40 kids from 4th to 12th grade attended summer camp at Loyola as part of the Anna’s Arts for Kids program, a mission of St. Anna’s Episcopal Church. The free four-week summer program focused on academics, the arts, appreciating diversity, and resolving conflicts. The camp ran through July 20 and utilized classrooms in Monroe Hall and recreational spaces in the University Sports Complex.

“It was a collaborative effort between the Office of Service Learning, the Honors Program, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Wellness, the Office of Student Records, and many other departments across campus. It takes a village to host a camp like this,” says Kelly Brotzman, director of the Office of Service Learning.

Anna’s Arts for Kids provides a safe environment for at-risk youth in New Orleans to experience learning and the arts. The aim is to help children achieve increased academic success at school; a heightened sense of self-esteem and self-worth; a genuine appreciation for diversity; an affinity for community service; and a keen appreciation for creativity.

During the camp, interns and camp staff worked with youth on reading skills, vocabulary, and enrichment. Art activities included puppet-making, clay modeling, drawing, acting, musical instrument lessons, and martial arts, among others.

Maddy Fox, Loyola psychology junior, served as the main site coordinator for the summer camp at Loyola.

“I originally got involved with Anna’s Arts through service learning with my social psychology course two years ago. I stayed involved, and it was so rewarding to see things come full circle with all of the campers sitting in the same classrooms I do, seeing a little of what college is about, and learning the same skills and concepts that helped me get to where I am today,” Fox says.

Anna’s Arts additionally partnered with the Freret Neighborhood Center and the Lighthouse for the Blind to bring this opportunity to even more youth.

“This was really a story about how strong university-community partnerships multiply and reinforce one another. Partnerships like these are just one way Loyola demonstrates its Jesuit commitment to work for justice in the greater New Orleans community,” Brotzman says.

View the complete fall 2012 issue of LOYNO.

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