EMBRACING THE LEGACY: Express Yourself, a Peabody-based program that gives at-risk youth the opportunity to perform music and dance and to create artwork, is receiving the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps’ Embracing the Legacy Award next Thursday at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
The award, given to activists who have worked to eliminate injustice affecting children, is being presented to Paula Conrad, the program’s founder and co-executive director, and Stan Strickland, co-executive director.
Since its founding in 1988, Express Yourself has helped change the lives of 2,500 youths. The program is based on the principle that art can help move at-risk youth out of isolation and onto a positive path toward self-discovery.
The program also challenges stereotypes sometimes made about youth with mental illness and empowers teens to feel valued for their artistic contributions.
Through a year-long program, Express Yourself works with 300 youths referred by the Mass. Department of Mental Health.
They create set designs, visual art, and performance pieces for a culminating performance at the Citi Performing Arts Center — Wang Theatre.
Guest artists have included Blue Man Group, Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, and Stomp.
In 2009, Express Yourself received the Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Council on the Arts and Humanities, an honor given to programs that exemplify how arts and humanities improve the lives of young people throughout the country by teaching new skills, nurturing creativity, and building self-confidence.
“Express Yourself sees that every child deserves a chance and can prosper when given new opportunities by people who care about them,” said Ed Kelley, president and CEO of the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps.
“The Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps and Express Yourself share similar missions; both work to ensure that at-risk youth grow and heal so they can reach their full potentials,” said Conrad. “Express Yourself believes in the healing power of art to set youth on a positive path.”
The event, which is open to the public, begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $300 and corporate sponsorships are available. Call Lisa Sikora at 617- 227-4183.
DOG DAY: North Shore Community College is holding its first Canines to College Day at the Lynn campus on Sunday.
Hosted by WCVB-TV’s Randy Price, the day includes competitions, demonstrations, and dog-related shopping in support of scholarships for graduating Lynn High School seniors and other Lynn students transitioning to the college.
Animal communicator Susan Deren and a Massachusetts State Police k-9 unit will be on hand. And, there will be reiki for dogs and an agility demonstration by Karen Gorman of Fit ‘n’ Trim Dog Sport Training.
Local dog-related businesses will be on site selling pet items.
The event is open to the public and their dogs. General admission is free. Competition entry fee for dogs is $30.
For more information or to register a pet, call 781-477-2143 or visit www.northshore.edu.
WHO’S WHAT WHERE: A local student, a teacher, and an arts curriculum director were recently honored by Arts|Learning for their work in support of arts education. They received their awards in a ceremony at the State House in Boston. Kelly Marie Russo, a sophomore at Winthrop High School, was named an Outstanding Student Advocate for creating the Music Matters fund to improve the music programs at her high school. Alicia Fine, an art teacher at Malden High School, was named a Distinguished Arts Educator Advocate in Visual Arts. In addition to her work in the classroom, Fine founded the Recycled Arts Club, a program in which students learn to create visual art from frequently discarded materials. The program encourages an appreciation of the arts and promotes environmental consciousness. Beth Delforge, arts curriculum director for the Marblehead public schools, received the Irene Buck Service Award to Arts Education for creating professional development programs that promote the importance of the arts, culture, and inquiry in the classroom. She also has created collaborations and partnerships with teachers, artists, community members, parents, and arts institutions. Ernie Boch Jr.’s foundation, Music Drives Us, based in Winchester, won an award for Corporate Support of Arts Education.