Teacher Danielle Fitzpatrick directs her 3-year-old students in creative dance class at MoCo Arts in Keene. (Photo by Cheryl Senter).

Teacher Danielle Fitzpatrick directs her 3-year-old students in creative dance class at MoCo Arts in Keene. (Photo by Cheryl Senter).

Giving our kids the opportunity to thrive

MoCo Arts and the Keene Housing Kids Collaborative are making it possible for all kids to dance and act and succeed

Eight-year-old Alexis Harvey walks into MoCo Arts and into the embrace of her community.

Alexis and her mom, Tracy Clark, live in subsidized housing. Tracy works full-time as a receptionist, volunteers, pays close attention to her daughter’s progress in school and budgets her family’s money carefully.

A partnership between MoCo and the Keene Housing Kids Collaborative is making it possible for Alexis to attend acting classes and arts camp here. Kids who live in subsidized housing often don’t have the opportunity to join in the same activities as their peers from wealthier families. These kinds of activities are critical for building community, and relationships with mentors, and self-esteem and discipline that will help kids succeed. This partnership gives them that opportunity. The Foundation supports the partnership through the Henry L. and Patricia J. Nielsen donor-advised fund, and provides additional support for MoCo programs and operations.

“When people say ‘How many kids do you have?,’ I say, ‘hundreds,’” said MoCo Executive Director Reagan Messer. “These are our kids.”

Tracy has noticed something since Alexis has been coming to MoCo: “In her schoolwork, she’s always pushing ahead now. She doesn’t limit herself. She’s not afraid to try anything.”

This story originally appeared in our 2015 Annual Report.