A nonprofit organization that has been working with the Alexander Hamilton Academy in Paterson to improve students’ communication and social skills through storytelling has received $56,000 from the Countess Moira Charitable Foundation to expand its program to St. Mary’s Preschool and School 19.
Princeton Junction-based Storytelling Arts will use some of the funds at the two schools to target classrooms with four-year-olds at the St. Mary’s and kindergarten and first grade students at School 19. It will also use a portion of the grant to complete its third year of programming at the Alexander Hamilton Academy.
“We are grateful to the Countess Moira Foundation for affording us this opportunity to start a new program with schools in Paterson as well as continue our involvement at Alexander Hamilton Academy and the Frelinghuysen Middle School,” Edna Friman, president of Storytelling Arts, said.
The nonprofit will use a portion of the funds to return to the Frelinghuysen Middle School in Morristown for a second year after the school faculty and administration there invited the group to work with their 350 sixth grade students. The second year program will emphasize the power and purpose of stories making a thematic connection to the curriculum all the while developing student’s literacy skills. Master teaching artists will also provide professional development to faculty to further storytelling skills.
“As the only organization dedicated to using the art of storytelling to develop literacy, strengthen communities, and nurture the human spirit, we are very much looking forward to continuing to provide these valuable programs to students all across the State of New Jersey,” Friman said.
Sixth grade teacher at Alexander Hamilton Academy Marcel Deodato praised the program and its training. “It’s become part of my curriculum; it has become part of how I teach and it’s because of training,” she said about storytelling.
“Our experience has shown that our programs have a measurable impact on the populations that we serve. I am thrilled to be continuing these programs and strengthening our relationship with the Foundation,” executive director of Storytelling Arts Karen Lavallen said.
The Countess Moira Charitable Foundation, established in 2000, is a nonprofit with a mission to aid the well-being of young people everywhere in the world.