News Update December 4th, 2011
Letter from the Director Bettina Rotenberg
Dear Friend of VALA,
I am writing to ask you to make a donation to VALA. As you know, times are tough, and VALA is among the organizations that have been hardest hit. Funding cuts mean we have the least number of artists in the public schools since our beginning. Nevertheless, we were awarded a grant this year by the California Arts Council, and Alba Witkin, a local funder, graced us with a generous unsolicited check. We are working hard to find a school or two that will pay even a small amount for our services. Sankofa Academy in Oakland is donating what they can for seven classes. We're grateful!
We had a training for VALA artists a month ago and two experienced artists taught new artists how to do invoices, get teachers to write out questionnaires, write evaluations of their residencies, and teach poems. Hurrah for Diana Marto and Yofe Johnson for doing a wonderful job- they were terrific!
So we exist, but it's quite a challenge. Surely in the minds and hearts of children we've taught. Maybe as an inspiring memory for the teachers we've taught with. Certainly in the thoughts of VALA artists who are chomping on the bit to get in there and make a difference.
Please think of the children we want to help. There is so much work to do. Join with us to "get in there" and change lives, uplift teachers' spirits, and assist teenagers in finding themselves amidst all the weird, frightening, and crazy things they have to deal with day in day out.
Please give as generously as you can to "Community Initiatives/VALA."
You are the ones who keep us going.
With warm regards,
Director of VALA
A video by a VALA artist and videographer, features WCC principal and two Richmond teachers. The video is about the impact of VALA and VALA artists on teachers and students at Schools in Richmond, California.
I Dare to Stop the Wind Book Released
Bettina Rotenberg's book, I Dare to Stop the Wind, is available. It describes the evolution of VALA and recounts Tina's odyssey through different classrooms, training VALA artist and classroom teachers in the reading and creating of poetry with children in Richmond, California.
On August 23, 2009, three musicians and a small group of listeners congregated at Annie Hallet's lovely studio space, 'Annie's Hall'.