Athena Frasca is a Grinnell College student and the GEP AmeriCorps After School Enrichment Aide. In this role, she serves with Drake Community Library (DCL) and Grinnell College Museum of Art (GCMoA) to help support their after-school programming for elementary and middle school students. This has included homework help and tutoring, as well as other ways to engage students outside of school hours. One newly developed project that Athena has been involved with at DCL is the Tuesday Dance Parties. Athena shared her thoughts about this project for AmeriCorps Week.
Share a little with us about your involvement with the Dance Party programming at DCL:
The Dance Party project was created with the goal in mind of connecting kids and
caregivers to the Drake Community Library and to the Grinnell-area community, while getting everyone moving and reading. Grinnell community members with interests in community engagement have been invited to guest host each program session, reading to and dancing with kids and caregivers who attend. The books selected are somehow each related to dance, music, and personal expression, and the music chosen reflects those themes as well. The Dance Parties serve as a great opportunity for kids and families to be exposed to art of various forms - and art that they might not come across otherwise.
Why is this project important to the community? To you?
I love that this program connects different parts of our community! Building a positive relationship with the library and with reading is great, and the dance party aspect reinforces that books and storytelling can be fun and active. Drawing in volunteers from the area encourages recognition elsewhere - like the grocery store or park - and builds community engagement.
What has been your favorite part of this project?
Another important part of this program, and my favorite part, has been seeing parents and caregivers dance with their kids! Some of the volunteers have even gotten their families involved. Everyone looks like they're having a blast. It's a great opportunity to get active, as well as a different way for parents and caregivers to connect with their kids.
What is the best part of being an AmeriCorps member at GEP?
The best part of being an AmeriCorps member at GEP is getting to plan out and participate in programs like this. Seeing the 'behind-the-scenes' work fit together and pay off is awesome, and getting to know other AmeriCorps and GEP members in the process is an incredible bonus!
You can find all Drake Community Library Kid's Programming, including the Tuesday Dance Parties, at this link. Thank you for all you do for students in Grinnell, Athena!