Honors Goes to Chicago!

Honors students journey to the Fields Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago to see some very famous pieces of art


Earlier this month, 55 kids along with a few parents from the Honors program hopped on a bus and spent a long day touring two major museums in Chicago and seeing artwork they’ve studied, up-close and personal. Students were given scavenger hunt challenges at each location and questions to answer to reinforce learning from the trip. They had a blast!


Art With a Heart pilots Creative Pre-K Connections!

Art With a Heart pilots Creative Pre-K Connections this year at Indianapolis Public School #107

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Following a year of substantial growth and recognition for the Creative Kindergarten Connections (CKC) program, we announce our newest program, Creative Pre-K Connections, to be piloted at IPS #107. The Pre-K program is grounded in research just like the Kindergarten program and is ultimately the essential next step to the development of a complete early-childhood curriculum in Pre-K through third grades.


Student Story

A bright young child, supported by his wonderful family, learns to love art through Creative Kindergarten Connections.

Royce is super fun, shy 1st grader at CFI 2 this year who loves reading, learning, and of course, playing video games in his spare time! We met Royce in our Creative Kindergarten Connections program because at the start of the school year, he was actually a Kindergartener! Royce felt bored a lot during the school day because he wasn’t being challenged enough in Kindergarten and was asked if he’d like to move up to 1st grade, which he admitted to his family that he was nervous and unsure about what to do. Royce’s loving and supportive co-parents, Nichole Stevens and Cindy McGillem, are both volunteers at CFI 2 in the CKC program and saw first-hand how much Royce really blossomed throughout the program, and came up with a solution for their son that would both challenge and excite him for school. Royce agreed to move up to 1st grade ONLY if he was able to continue participating in the CKC program for the remainder of the year!


Thank You Salesforce Volunteers!

Meet the two wonderful volunteers from Salesforce who love helping us out at IPS #51 for Creative Kindergarten Connections.Salesforce Logo

Janet Stimac and Tim Tan are volunteers in our CKC program who both work at Salesforce here in Indianapolis! Salesforce encourages all of their employees to get involved and to give back to the community, and they have partnered with us to support our programming at IPS #51. We’ve been so happy to have these two volunteers, and they both have been equally impressed with the program.

“So far I’ve really enjoyed volunteering in the program! I got interested in it when I heard about how much fun it was from another employee’s mom, so I checked out the website, got to shadow another volunteer in a classroom, and now I’m at #51 once a week,” said Janet, “I love art, that’s my creative outlet, and when you’re working in a tech driven company it’s great to have that experience apart from work.” She said that each week gets better and better because the kids become more confident in their artistic abilities and also become more comfortable with her.


Meet our New CKC Staff Members!

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Photo credit – Michelle Craig

Kelly Bradbury – New AWaH Site Director

Kelly is a former elementary school teacher with an advanced degree in curriculum and instruction. After working as a classroom teacher, she became an instructional coach and mentored others to improve teaching strategies and classroom management.  Most recently, Kelly was a Homeschool Teacher. After homeschooling  her daughter for ten years, Kelly enrolled her daughter in 4th grade at Sidener Academy last spring. She also has a five-year-old son, who participates in Art with a Heart at CFI #2.

10635847_10152851905938561_7569031874975287202_nJoanna Ireland – New AWaH Site Director

Joanna graduated from IUPUI with a BS in Psychology and then taught preschool for 15 years at a parent-run cooperative in Irvington. She has 4 children, one of which participated in AWaH’s Creative Kindergarten Connections program. After teaching preschool, Joanna moved on to work for IPS #84 for a year and a half as a Behavior Specialist. During her time at #84, she got involved with us by running a center in the AWaH CKC program. Her youngest son was also participating in the CKC program during that time at his school, “I loved being able to talk to him about what his class did in AWaH that day, and really knowing the program first hand through the work I did at IPS #84,” said Joanna. She fell in love with AwaH; seeing the confidence and enthusiasm it created for her son made her heart sing. Her son has special needs, which makes school a place he doesn’t always feel successful, but in AWaH he always felt successful and he loved coming home to talk about what he learned! She also saw the difference it made for the kids at IPS #84. “Their attention spans were stretched, their fine motor skills increased and confidence in their art ability sky-rocketed,” said Joanna.


Volunteer Spotlight – Mary Oss

Volunteer Spotlight Mary Oss - JanuaryMary is one of our amazing office volunteers. She’s a semi-retired bookkeeper who currently works part-time for Shannon Door. Mary graciously uses her spare time to not only volunteer her skills to help us but also for Partnerships for Lawrence Arts and SS Peter & Paul Cathedral.

“In 2013, I was introduced to AWaH through a shared fundraiser that the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra was doing with AWaH.  I moved when I received a personal thank you note from one of AWaH’s Honors Class students that when I retired from the ICO in 2014, AWaH was the first organization that I contacted to do volunteer work,” said Mary.


Volunteer Spotlight – Sobia Shakeel

Volunteer Spotlight Sobia ShakeelSobia is a former teacher from Pakistan. This is her 2nd year volunteering with AWaH at IPS #96. “I’m getting so much out of my volunteer experience. I love seeing the twinkle in a student’s eyes when they are creating art and learning from it,” said Sobia. She describes her time with AWaH as fulfilling, rewarding and most importantly fun.


CKC Program Successes!

How students and teachers are impacted, volunteers’ gushing opinions, and how your donations make it all possible.

Wondering how our Creative Kindergarten Connections programming is going? It couldn’t be better! This year’s evaluation results painted a colorful picture of how the program is enjoyed by students, teachers, volunteers and principals. Results have shown overall growth in students’ creativity, improvement in self-governing behaviors thaCKC pict positively impact reading by 3rd grade and accelerated learning of art skills. The students and teachers who participated in the programming related many endearing stories of the positive learning and teaching environments created during AWaH; demonstrating the value of having in-school-day art programming in our Indianapolis schools.

We were really pleased to know that we avoided ‘initiative fatigue’ among teachers and instead received so much positive feedback from teachers who had completed two years of the program.  Although teachers acknowledged the extra work, they clearly recognized that they grew as teachers and had confidence in the success of their students.  One teacher participating in the program for the second year said, “It allows me to do what I enjoy most about teaching…watching students learn while being creative.” Another teacher told us, “This program allows me to teach the way I was trained to teach and I can see the positive effects with the students.”


Volunteer Spotlight

Two young students are making meaningful connections with AWaH kindergarteners!

Volunteer Spotlight Kendra & RondaKendra and Ronda are both juniors at Damar Charter Academy. They are currently volunteering with us once a week at Center for Inquiry School 2 for our Creative Kindergarten Connections program. While they are relatively new volunteers, you wouldn’t know it because they have already made such an impression on the students and have been equally impacted themselves.


Why Do You Donate?

These teachers donated in memory of a 2nd-grade student who loved art….Image-1

Sofia Komp was a 2nd-grader at Prairie Trace Elementary who passed away unexpectedly on September 21, 2014. She was known by her classmates and teachers for her bright spirit and love of art. She loved God and her family very much and was always happiest when she was surrounded by them. “She wanted to be an artist with a backup career as a magician, fashion designer, or pop star and spent many hours in pursuit of that dream. She expressed herself in colors and words, painting and writing stories,” said her mother, Jessica Komp in a tribute to her daughter.