Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion awards $50,000 to sup­port ru­ral arts pro­grams in county

The Boyertown Area Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

In an ef­fort to bring arts pro­grams to ru­ral ar­eas of the county, Berks County Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion has awarded seven grants to­tal­ing $50,000 to sup­port live the­ater in ele­men­tary schools, an arts fes­ti­val, con­certs, and more.

The Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion cre­ated the Berks County Arts Fund to en­cour­age lo­cal res­i­dents to sup­port the arts in Berks County through their do­na­tions. In 2014, the Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion’s board of di­rec­tors ap­proved a grant of $50,000 per year for five years from the Haw­ley and Myr­tle Quier Fund to the Berks County Arts Fund to sup­port arts pro­gram­ming in out­ly­ing ar­eas of Berks County where res­i­dents do not have ready ac­cess to the of­fer­ings pro­vided by the es­tab­lished arts com­mu­nity.

Pro­grams in­clude per­for­mances, ex­hibits, in­ter­ac­tive ac­tiv­i­ties, or other cre­ative ideas in town­ships and bor­oughs where the Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion’s Vi­tal Signs re­ports noted that peo­ple were least likely to have ex­pe­ri­enced an art event in the pre­vi­ous year.

“Our lo­cal artists and per­form­ers are cre­at­ing new ways to reach ru­ral au­di­ences in their own com­mu­ni­ties, and those au­di­ences have been ap­pre­cia­tive of the ef­fort,” said Heidi Wil­liamson, the Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion’s Vice Pres­i­dent for Pro­grams and Ini­tia­tives.

This year’s ru­ral arts grants in­clude:

$15,660 to The Yocum In­sti­tute for Arts Ed­u­ca­tion for its Jazz Fest for Kids, a pro­gram that will bring a live per­for­mance of the jazz story The Fish­er­man and His Wife to 3,000 Berks County ele­men­tary school stu­dents. In ad­di­tion to the per­for­mances, Yocum In­sti­tute will pro­vide pre-show study guides for teach­ers to use with their stu­dents and Yocum-led post-show sci­ence and art work­shops with the chil­dren. The per­for­mances and work­shops will be held at ele­men­tary schools in the Ham­burg Area, Oley Val­ley, Tulpe­hocken Area and Twin Val­ley school dis­tricts.

In 2016, Yocum re­ceived a grant from the Ru­ral Arts Pro­gram to bring the jazz story per­for­mance of Bal­loonacy to thou­sands of ele­men­tary stu­dents in Berks County.

• $13,500 to the Our Town Foun­da­tion in Ham­burg for its Arts In Ham­burg ini­tia­tive, which in­cludes on­go­ing pro­grams such as the spring Arts Fest, a pub­lic art ini­tia­tive that in­volves res­i­dents in the cre­ation of a piece of pub­lic art, and cul­tural per­for­mances at the Ham­burg Strand The­ater.

• $4,520 to Art in the Fields to man­age a vis­it­ing artist se­ries for the Al­sace Town­ship Sum­mer Play­ground pro­gram. The pro­gram will cul­mi­nate in a com­mu­nity event to show­case the var­i­ous forms of art that were cre­ated.

• $4,520 to Clay on Main to con­tinue the pro­gram it be­gan in 2015 of set­ting up booths at lo­cal fes­ti­vals where peo­ple can cre­ate and dec­o­rate their own pieces of art. In ad­di­tion, in win­ter Clay on Main will bring fused glass work­shops to ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

• $4,500 to the Read­ing Choral So­ci­ety to bring its Sum­mer Sing! pro­gram to two ad­di­tional com­mu­ni­ties. The Read­ing Choral So­ci­ety in­vites lo­cal res­i­dents to be part of a day of mu­sic, where they learn the pieces early in the morn­ing, prac­tice and per­fect mid-day, and per­form in the evening. The con­certs tra­di­tion­ally draw 50 to 60 singers rang­ing in age from 18 to 80. The outreach con­certs will be held at St. Mary’s Ro­man Catholic Church in Ham­burg and New Life Bi­ble Fel­low­ship Church in Oley.

• $4,000 to the Read­ing Pops for a side-by­side con­cert at Oley Val­ley High School in an ef­fort to re­peat the suc­cess­ful side-by-side con­cert held at Tulpe­hocken High School in 2015. A side-by­side con­cert al­lows Berks County stu­dents to prac­tice, play, and per­form with the Read­ing Pops mu­si­cians.

• $3,300 to the Ring­gold Band for a tra­di­tional Amer­i­cana con­cert at the band shell at Ham­burg Com­mu­nity Park in 2017. Berks County Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion is a non­profit cor­po­ra­tion that serves as a civic leader for our re­gion by de­vel­op­ing, manag­ing and dis­tribut­ing funds to meet ex­ist­ing and emerg­ing com­mu­nity needs. More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at www.bccf. org.

Berks County en­trepreneurs and own­ers of Com­fort Keep­ers – Berks County, Dave Ken­dall and Jen­nifer Mish, were re­cently awarded the “Op­er­a­tional Ex­cel­lence” award by CK Fran­chis­ing, Inc, the fran­chiser of Com­fort Keep­ers. The award was an­nounced dur­ing the An­nual Din­ner and Awards Cer­e­mony at the Com­fort Keep­ers Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence in Hen­der­son, NV.

2016’s award was the 4th con­sec­u­tive year for this pres­ti­gious award rec­og­niz­ing op­er­a­tional ex­cel­lence by con­sis­tently de­liv­er­ing qual­ity in-home care and liv­ing as­sis­tance to se­niors. Ken­dall & Mish, se­lected from over 650 Com­fort Keep­ers fran­chises na­tion­wide, also re­ceived the award in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Cri­te­ria for the award in­clude over­all client sat­is­fac­tion for qual­ity ser­vice, care­giver sat­is­fac­tion, and com­mu­nity in­volve­ment.

“This is in­deed an honor,” said Ken­dall, “to be rec­og­nized not only by our clients, but also by our fam­ily of care­givers who pro­vide pa­tient-cen­tered per­sonal care to Berks County com­mu­ni­ties. That is the hall­mark of Com­fort Keep­ers. It just doesn’t get any bet­ter than that.”


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