Program Teaches Kids To Relax While Public Speaking
January 10, 2019
By Casey Blake, Mesa Arts Center
Can you remember the first time you had to speak up? The first time you had to find your voice to express something important? With a fast-paced heartrate, sweaty palms and shaky legs?
For many of us, that feeling never goes away. For whatever reason, opportunities to practice expressing ourselves as young people are few and far between, and often we become adults who still experience that nervous energy when we don’t understand something, when we must work through a problem or when we have to say how we really feel.
Project Lit at Mesa Arts Center is providing middle and high school students with these opportunities – to practice writing, expressing, speaking, sharing and collaborating. The program is igniting literacy through the arts to promote and activate social and emotional learning with young and emerging adults.
Since 2014, more than 35,000 middle and high school students have been reached through spoken word, hip-hop and drama programs. Through these out-of-school time offerings, students gain confidence and practice skills that will serve them for a lifetime.
“If you can break it down on a microphone, you can break it down in a board room,” said Tomas Stanton, teaching artist, poet and engagement manager.
And through Project Lit, these students do just that. They practice articulating complex ideas, collaborate with others and learn about differences. All of these skills help prepare our students for their future lives and careers.
To support this program, community members Bill Passey and Maria Silva, with support from the Elliott and Nesbitt families, issued a challenge. They have pledged to make a cumulative gift to the program of up to $35,000, if Mesa Arts Center can match that contribution. Interested in supporting this program and the students who are working hard to share their stories? Or in bringing this program to your school? Learn more at measartscenter.com/matchingchallenge.