For Hometown News
MARTIN COUNTY -- From an early age, David Wise could be found singing, dancing and putting on performances for his family and friends. It was evident that he had talent and a passion for the performing arts, but as he grew older, he began to understand that although he loved singing and dancing it would be too difficult for his family to take on the financial burden of enrolling him in musical theatre classes.
Fortunately for David, and students in similar situations, one community organization has been working to provide young people with the opportunity to pursue their dreams and get involved in the arts. With support from corporate and private donors, the Martin County-based nonprofit Artists for a Cause created a scholarship program to assist students and families with the many expenses that come along with participating in visual and performing arts.
"Research has shown that participation in visual and performing arts has a positive effect on young adults, but unfortunately during these tough economic times, not all families can afford to sign their children up for dance, piano or theatre lessons. This is when we step in to lift some of the burden off of parents' shoulders," said Terry Barber, founder and executive director of Artists for a Cause.
During the last two years, a partnership between A4AC and StarStruck Performing Arts Center, the largest performing and visual arts education institutions in Martin County, has resulted in more than 40 students receiving training in their arts discipline of choice, despite their families financial challenges. In addition to A4AC scholarships, StarStruck also awards need-based and talent-based scholarships to students.
For David Wise, the scholarship he received from A4AC has allowed him to enroll in musical theatre classes at StarStruck.
"From the costumes, to the classes and performances, participating in the arts can be really expensive," said Mr. Wise. "The scholarship from Artists for a Cause has been a huge help to my family financially and has allowed me to pursue my dreams of performing on the big stage."
All A4AC scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need. To maximize the range and efficiency of the program, Artists for a Cause recently announced the implementation of new measures for the screening of prospective scholarship recipients. Scholarship applicants are required to submit documentation showing their financial need and a written statement addressing why they are interested in becoming involved in the arts.
To date, most funding for scholarship students at StarStruck has been accomplished in partnership with A4AC. Private and corporate donors are able to earmark their donations specifically to the A4AC Scholarship program.
"The arts have made such an impact on my life and after I graduate from Martin County High School this spring, I hope to continue pursuing my passion of performing while I attend college," said Mr. Wise.
Those interested in applying for the Artists for a Cause Scholarship Program can call (772) 419-8778 or email A4AC Director of Operations Michelle Rodanes at firstname.lastname@example.org.