Meghan is a 20-year old Dance/Theatre Major at the University of Alabama. Meghan is a talented and accomplished ballerina who received her training at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham. She has performed in over 100 ballet productions and has worked with some of the finest dance instructors in the U.S.
If you had the fortune to have a conversation with Meghan she would speak to you about the positive impact the Fine Arts have had in her life. However at a very young age, Meghan realized that many children would not have the same opportunities that were afforded to her through the arts. It is with this insight that at the age of eighteen Meghan established a program called “MY A.R.T.S. Kids”, an in-school and after-school fine arts program that provides free classroom teaching of the fine arts to children ages K5 through 5th grades.
In this short time, My A.R.T.S. Kids has become a recognized 501(c) (3) organization which has raised over $15,000 for charitable distribution. It has expanded its programs to 17 schools and worked with other fine arts programs in Alabama. This past February My A.R.T.S. Kids was instrumental in establishing a Fine Arts Awareness Week in two public school systems and was selected as the fine arts program for the Walker County Schools. This was a HUGE SUCCESS and this alone introduced various fine arts activities to over 5000 students.
My A.R.T.S. Kids also has held two summer camps which have allowed students to continue their training through the non-school months. In addition, Meghan’s program also provides opportunities for private fine arts training by granting scholarship awards to deserving students who for personal or financial reasons would otherwise not receive such training. In 2007, My A.R.T.S. Kids has awarded 40 scholarships and plans to continue this program.
Meghan has personally taught the in-school, after-school, and summer programs, but also solicits the help of local high school seniors who volunteer their time to continue the programs that she has started at each school. When visiting the classrooms Meghan always shares LIZZY’S STORY, a tale of a young ballerina girl who finds that the attributes she learns in her fine arts classes also helps her in her other academic courses and even beyond so that one day she too will realize all of her dreams. This is the first of three storyline coloring books written and illustrated by Meghan to help share her story. The other two character books feature Marcus, an African-American boy who becomes an Academic All-American with the help of the Fine Arts, and Maria, a young Hispanic girl who conquers the English language through song and art which leads her to realizing her dream of performing on Broadway. Both characters are trying to find their way in school when they discover that their fine arts education can help them achieve their goals.
The purpose of MY A.R.T.S. Kids is not to find the next Mozart or Prima Ballerina, but to broaden our children’s imagination, dreams, and horizons. The program promotes confidence, discipline, and self-esteem in children which carries over into the classroom and their everyday lives.
These are just a few highlights of this wonderful program. There are no words to describe the impact My A.R.T.S. Kids has made in these Alabama communities. Meghan is a true inspiration to her students and is a future leader of tomorrow.