United Arts of Central Florida has received a $35,000 grant from the PNC Foundation for pre-kindergarten educational arts programs designed to teach, inspire and expose children to cultural opportunities not readily available to them.
Through United Arts, PNC's generous grant will be distributed to the Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and MicheLee Puppets to expand the reach of arts programming and educational initiatives for children in underserved communities.
In addition to hands-on arts experiences, hundreds of children will benefit from supplemental materials that enhance their academic, cognitive and social development.
"PNC believes that the arts have great value for children, providing a source of beauty, wonder and creativity, as well as tools to promote learning and development," said Joe Meterchick, regional president of PNC Bank Florida West in a statement. "Studies have proven that an arts-rich environment promotes learning across all curriculum areas and helps children ultimately succeed in school."
The PNC Foundation awarded the grant to United Arts under its Grow Up Great initiative, a $350 million, bilingual program in early childhood education, to help children prepare for success in school and life.
"We are proud to have earned this support from PNC Foundation," said Flora Maria Garcia, United Arts president and CEO. "It is a tremendous boost to United Arts and our efforts to ensure that arts, science and history educational programming, so often on the budgetary chopping block, is first and foremost preserved and ultimately expanded. It is so important for the future of our community."
Each of the three cultural arts programs incorporate essential techniques for early learning in a fun and interactive experience:
• In Orlando Repertory Theatre's Access to Theatre Initiative, the Rep's teaching artists use theater to foster creativity, self-awareness, critical thinking and pre-literacy skills with preschoolers.
• "Rhyme Time," MicheLee Puppets' newest production, focuses on developing literacy for preschoolers by featuring a pop-up-book stage and puppet show that help children learn through rhyme, rhythm and repetition, all core educational techniques with pre-K students. Each school also receives a Mother Goose book and a music CD that assist teachers in sharing and reinforcing the rhymes with their students in the classroom.
• The goal of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra's Tiny Tots program is to introduce underserved preschoolers to interactive music education. Tiny Tots incorporates basic elements of music: rhythm, melody, dynamics and tone color, as well as vocabulary, movement and hands-on instrument activities.
"Grow Up Great is a visionary initiative from the PNC Foundation," said Scott Bowman, vice president of client services for Sara Brady Public Relations Inc. and chairman of United Arts' development committee. "Children in underserved communities need these programs as much, if not more, than children in other communities. As a father myself, I am particularly proud that the PNC Foundation has helped United Arts extend the reach of these programs. They will help so many children get a positive start to their educational lives."
The PNC Foundation receives its principal funding from the PNC Financial Services Group. To learn more about its Grow Up Great program, go to http://www.pncgrowupgreat.com
United Arts works with individual artists and more than 50 local arts, sciences and history organizations in Orange, Osceola, Lake and Seminole counties. It raises and distributes funds for these cultural groups and provides management, administrative and advisory services.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun