Knowing that low-SES (socio-economic status) kids involved in the arts are more likely to graduate from high school and college than their peers, I’ve been looking for a sustainable way to involve youth in the arts since 2004. In 2015, LoveLight, Inc. served as the inaugural fiscal sponsor for Camp Halim Expressive Arts in the Villages at Franklin Crossing (Kent, OH). The program for elementary and middle school youth connects at-risk youth with elders and tradition-bearers of African descent through traditional drumming, step team drills and storytelling. The program includes a week-long summer camp, a weekly summer program, service projects, community and regional performances and award ceremonies with friends and family.
I serve as the Camp Halim coordinator, recruiting and directing volunteers, acquiring program funding and promoting Camp Halim among educators and community partners.
Camp Halim fills the need for a high-quality, high profile youth arts experience that weds the strengths of the community and Kent State University. The program is named in honor of composer Halim El-Dabh, KSU University Professor Emeritus. At age 95, El-Dabh is one of Portage County’s most notable citizens. He is renowned for his avant garde music, especially for the Martha Graham Dance Company and for the Sound & Light show featured daily over the pyramids of Giza, Egypt. El-Dabh’s attitude of generosity pervades the atmosphere of camp. “There is a world of beauty all around you if you open your eyes to see it,” El-Dabh says with palm upraised as if to receive a precious gift. The Camp Halim motto conveys this sentiment: I will play to the best of my ability, share beautiful things with others, and live a life of honor.
Camp Halim aims to move youth from consuming cultural products to creating and advocating for the riches of their cultural heritage. The Expressive Arts Program provides instruments, instruction and performance opportunities where youth grow as members of a musical team and unlock their inherent power and potential.
CONNECT WITH US
Facebook: Camp Halim Expressive Arts
Instagram/Twitter: @CampHalim #CampHalim Email: CampHalimArts@gmail.com
- To exercise the body, mind and compassion of each youth participant
- To immerse youth in melorhythmic play (drumming), step team (dancing), verbal arts (storytelling) and musical games (developing musicianship)
- To inspire successful outcomes for youth through mentorship by a wide circle of community elders
- To increase youth reading literacy and fluency through guest readers and book awards
- To nourish youth with wholesome foods
- Community elders of African-American and African descent
- Music teachers
- Reading/literacy specialists and librarians
- Helpers (snacks, registration, materials management, transportation)
- Administrators and educators
- Community partners
- Summer Program – Building Cultural Diversity Grant
- Kent State University Office of the Vice President for University Relations, Iris Harvey
- Mr. George Lemon, Jr.
- Magic City Customs
- Belleria of Kent
- Woodsy’s Music
- Franklin Square Deli
- Papa John’s
- Five Guys
- Riverwood Community Chapel – Lisa Morris Drum Memorial
- Millennia Housing Group