FRIDAY FOCUS: Creating Communities

Do you love the arts? Culture? Music? Creating Communities inspires you with all three through their unique programs, mentorships and events. They strive to create a society where the arts are an important part of the community, connecting people and influencing their lives. Creating Communities reaches out to the youth of Annapolis to provide them with an opportunity to create, learn and grow. In this week’s Friday Focus, we had the pleasure of hearing from Founder and Executive Director of Creating Communities, Rob Levit, who is an award-winning musician and community leader. Mr. Levit shared some of the organizations favorite moments and challenges they face.

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.) We are a small but mighty nonprofit organization that serves hundreds of talented yet low-income youth from Annapolis and Anne Arundel County through powerful arts mentoring programs. This includes our Tuesday Afternoon Learning Experience and Wednesday Afternoon Arts Club for Title I elementary school students living in public housing, our Arts Ambassadors Program for Bates Middle School students who explore the possibility of world drumming creativity, as well as our multi-award winning Arts Mentorship Academy, held each summer at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. In addition, we have a teen program called the Youth Arts Fellowship, which gives our high school students and opportunity to learn, create and interact with master artists and a mural program that creates and install historical and cultural murals in community centers. In 2017, we are on track to serve over 500 students! Here’s a video link to our Arts Mentorship Academy – https://youtu.be/TTSiOu5KywI

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

This past year, our Youth Arts Fellowship students had a personal visit and lunch with world-renowned actor Kevin Bacon. Kevin and his nonprofit heard about us and it was a big boost for our morale as well as our attending students and parents. One of our students was interviewed by the BBC along with Kevin Bacon regarding the visit! Check out the program. In addition, we have seen many of our students continue on to college, receive honors and scholarships and return to volunteer or work in our programs.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

Two – many still don’t understand how uniquely powerful the arts are at teaching life skills like collaboration, communication, perseverance and planning. Fortunately, there is a massive amount of evidence that shows the amazing power of the arts and how it benefits not only children in poverty, but all children. See how. In addition, while we have always been fortunate, raising funds is always a challenge. We are a nonprofit organization in good standing so it’s 100% tax-deductible. http://www.creatingcommunities.net/donate/

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

We have our Arts Mentorship Academy coming up the week of June 19-23 and are always looking for committed adult volunteers to assist in many ways during the week. Our adult volunteers find that their lives are changed in much the same way as our students. It’s inspiring and a learning experience for all. We bring in guest artists and have music, movement, art, creative writing and robotics/electronics every day.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

We have two afternoon programs, one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday, and we always need good volunteers. Also, we can use tax-deductible donations to power our programs. Email Executive Director Rob Levit at rlevit@comcast.net or visit www.creatingcommunities.net and watch our video!

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