September 21, 2020

Art in the Park, Pawtucket, RI

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The Empowerment Factory has hosted free “Art in the Park” in-person programs this summer at the Fairlawn Veterans Park in Pawtucket, RI. The program is geared to children in elementary school and follows all guidelines for in-person gatherings during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Each class features mindfulness, literacy, environmental education, and creativity components, but the greatest benefit is that it allows children to be outside with their peers in a socially distanced space at a time when there are few opportunities for youth to gather.

Each session is limited to 20 children who are split into two pods of ten. As the families arrive, they are screened for Covid-19, their temperatures are taken, and they sanitize their hands. Once they pass the screening, they are each given pre-packaged supplies for the event that includes a blanket that they put on the ground as their safe spot. The children are spaced at least 6’ apart on the grass, and they have been very good about staying on their spot and wearing masks if they get up. The Empowerment Factory keeps track of which students are in each pod for contact tracing purposes.

In each session a book is read that relates to the theme of the class. Teachers include Gail Ahlers who is the Executive Director of The Empowerment Factory, and Eclipse Nielson who is an award-winning teacher and author. The children have made jester wands, dream boxes, dragon and nature drawings, butterfly terrariums, and recycled robots. Since all the supplies are pre-packaged, it minimizes the handling of materials to also help with Covid-19 protocols. Volunteers help students with their projects, guiding as much as possible with words instead of touching materials. When they do need to help a child, they use gloves and change them each time they interact with a new child.

The children walk away from each session with a smile on their face as they learn new things and interact with children from throughout the state in a safe, socially-distanced environment.

The program has been very popular, so more sessions are being added in September that include Friendly Fireflies that light up, Kindness Rocks, and Recycled Art Jewelry. You can sign up for the classes through The Empowerment Factory website.

To sign up for the programs or to learn more about the Empowerment Factory, you can visit the website at www.TheEmpowermentFactory.org or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
For additional information, please contact Gail Ahlers at gail@empowermentfactory.org or 401-365-1010.

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