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.