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Students help enrich lives of at-risk youth

July 13, 2012

The Office of Service Learning at Loyola University New Orleans 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 have been attending 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 focuses on academics, the arts, appreciating diversity and resolving conflicts. The camp runs through July 20th and has utilized classrooms in Monroe Hall and recreational spaces in the University Sports Complex.

“It’s been 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,” said 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 work with youth on reading skills, vocabulary and enrichment. Art activities include puppet-making, clay modeling, drawing, acting, musical instrument lessons and martial arts among others.

Maddy Fox, Loyola psychology junior, is serving 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 now it’s 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 said.

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

“This is 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 said.

For more information, contact Brotzman at kbrotzma@loyno.edu.

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