Sunday, April 27, 2008

C'ville District Chair Featured on NBC29 News

Poetry Gives AHS Class Freedom of Expression
Reported by Claire O'Brien on April 23, 2008 04:56 PM

When you're mad, you yell. When you're happy, you laugh. But what if a disability got in the way of expressing how you feel? One program is opening up a world of expression for some very special students.

The words are flowing from the Albemarle High School students we visited, but they weren't in your everyday English class. These students had something standing in the way of expressing how they feel: they all have autism.

"For a teenager to have a significant disability is huge, especially if it impacts their social skills, their communication, their sense of self," said special education teacher Leah Fechtmann.

Through poems, the students are able to express feelings that they may not be able to verbalize. They get extra help from Rose Williams, Miss Wheelchair Virginia. The students choose words that describe their inner feelings, then they put those feelings into poetry.

According to Williams, "It builds self-esteem. It builds their self-esteem and self-worth."

When they're better able to express what they can do, they don't focus so much on what they can't. "We were seeing their struggles. When they finally verbalized their struggles they went on to their feelings of being valued and appreciated, which were much, much larger," shared Fechtman.

Williams said, "They're so proud of their accomplishment, by doing that." Link:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

National Juried Exhibition for Young Artists with Disabilities (Ages 16 – 25)

Sponsored by VSA arts with generous assistance from Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Grand Prize: $20,000
First Award: $10,000
Second Award: $6,000
12 Awards of Excellence: $2,000

"Contemporary art challenges us…it broadens our horizons. It asks us to think beyond the limits of conventional wisdom."
- Eli Broad

A green light signals “GO!” and permission to proceed. What revs you up as an artist and moves you to create? What signals the spark of creativity? Imagine that you receive a signal to drive your own future. Describe the experience and how you will direct your route – both artistically and personally. How does art give you permission to be who you are? Consider the infinite possibilities that art (or creativity) provides.

We are interested in both representational and abstract work. Artwork may illustrate actual aspects of what signals your creative motivations such as the physical world or personal discoveries. Abstract work that relates to feelings or emotions is also encouraged. Work might also reflect your experience of living with a disability and its role in shaping or transforming your work.

Details including eligibility can be found on our national website.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Online Music Classes for Infants, Babies and Toddlers – Free for Children with Special Needs

Parents, I found this on the Exceptional Parent website:

The Come Children Sing Institute is offering free gift certificates for Come Children, Sing! Online Music Classes for infants, babies, and toddlers with special needs. The $35 gift certificate provides one 10-week Online Music Class. Request a free gift certificate for your child by sending an email to Mention Exceptional Parent Magazine and indicate that you have a child with special needs. Your gift certificate will be sent via email, and you can start the Online Music Class at any time.

At VSA, Learning Is Art

Craig Hammond, 12, follows a JMU volunteer’s lead while making a fish out of clay during VSA arts, a day of crafting and activities presented by Kappa Pi, the international honorary art and art history fraternity at JMU. Photo by Pete Marovich

Excerpt from Harrisonburg's Daily News Record 4/17/08:

"Around 10 a.m., groups from Spotswood and Harrisonburg high schools, Stewart Middle School and Mountain View, Stone Spring and John Wayland elementary schools began arriving.
Kyle Simpson, 19, entered the building excited to get crafting. Because the HHS student came last year, he knew what to expect. 'It's fun!' he said, beaming.
Ten tables covered with red and white gingham cloths and adorned with balloons served as hands-on craft stations filled with activities including face painting, sculpting, macaroni jewelry, sand art, flowerpot painting and more. The students moved from station to station happily loading up their brown paper bags with each new creation.

Stone Spring high needs teacher Angela Craighead brought six students to the event, her first year participating. 'I think it's set up very nice. I like that the kids can go wherever they want and check everything out,' she said.
Working on a necklace at the macaroni station, Debbie Stevenson, 13, decided she wants to make jewelry when she gets older. "I'm having fun. You can tell by the [flower],' she said, pointing to a blue flower painted on her cheek. 'I like it.'
A couple tables down, volunteer Ava Freeburg, 17, waited for students to come to her clothespin butterfly station. The daughter of JMU faculty sponsor and coordinator of art education programs Kathy Schwartz, the HHS senior has been volunteering for VSA since eighth grade.
'It's just such a unique opportunity to be able to work with the special education kids and be able to help them,' said Freeburg. 'It's really fun for me to be able to do that.'"

Read the full article...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Virginia Quarterly Review: Young Reviewers Contest

In September 2008, VQR will hold a competition to encourage and cultivate young reviewers and critics under the age of thirty. The prize for the winning entry is $1,000, publication in the Winter 2009 issue, and a publishing contract for three additional reviews worth $3,000. Runners-up may also be offered publication in VQR (in print or online).
~ Entrants must be under the age of thirty as of the closing date of the contest, September 30, 2008.
~ Entries (one per person) should be at least 2,000 and no more than 3,500 words and should be an in-depth review of a book of fiction, poetry, or nonfiction published in the US after January 1, 2008.
~ There is no entry fee for the contest.
~ More...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

"What If You Were the Designer?" Never Built Virginia Youth Design Competition

Never Built Virginia, an exhibition on display at the Library of Virginia through July 26th, 2008, focuses on the history of ambitious, very creative, and sometimes otherworldly works of architecture proposed but never constructed. In the spirit of architectural creativity, the Library of Virginia is sponsoring the "What If You Were the Designer?" Youth Design Competition.

The entry form is based on the drawing Richmond architect Haigh Jamgochian used in the design for his "never built" structure called "Tree House" prepared for a narrow lot in downtown Richmond. Entrants are asked to sketch their own concept of a building within the space shown, and to provide a brief written description of their design. Entries will be posted in an online gallery, where visitors to the site can cast their votes for their favorite design ideas.

The contest is open to Virginia residents ages 8 to 17. The deadline for submissions is Saturday, April 12, 2008, at 5:00 pm. Winners in both the junior and senior divisions will each receive a $250 savings bond and will have their entries displayed in the lobby of the Library. For more information contact Tameka Hobbs, Program and Education Coordinator, at 804.371.2126, or Susan Gilliam, Educational Assistant, at 804.692.3999.