Monthly Archives: September 2013

Arts Horizons partners with ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School

Arts Horizons partners with ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School to focus on Dancers with Special Needs

On the afternoon of Saturday September 7th, Ballet Faculty with Children’s division of The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre held their fall staff meeting. This year a special focus was designated specifically to address special needs of students in the pre-primary program in a workshop with Arts Horizons Director of Special Education and NYC Residencies, Dena Malarek.

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School Children’s Division is a ballet program for children ages 4-12 that promotes discipline and creativity while encouraging each child to reach their highest potential. Classes focus on building a solid foundation in ballet technique with an emphasis on proper placement and safe progressions of movement while remaining sensitive to the developmental needs of younger dancers. The workshop presented by Ms. Malarek was designed specifically for the organization and explored how they might best address the needs of young dancers with special needs with the context of expectations in the pre-professional training environment. Participants discussed relevant disability characteristics as manifested in the dance studio environment and targeted strategies for studio instruction, behavioral interventions and organizational accommodations.

Taking this step to address special needs of young dancers in the JKO children’s division speaks very loudly to recognize the potential for young dancers who may have special needs to be given an opportunity in the world of pre-professional ballet. “It is essential for the faculty and staff to have access to this type of professional development so that we can be responsive to the needs of the student body,” Melissa Bowman, Assistant Principal of the JKO School.

Dena Malarek, Director of NYC Programs and Special Education, joined Arts Horizons in June 2008.  She brings with her over 19 years working in the field of disabilities services.   She is certified as a recreation therapist and sits on the steering committee of the NYC Arts and Special Education Consortium.  As a recreation therapist, her work and volunteer experiences span diverse disability genres and artistic/athletic/recreational milieus.   As a former Director of Day Habilitation for adults with disabilities, she managed educational, recreational and arts programs to facilitate goal development.   She further developed skills as a staff trainer in behavioral crisis management.  A key focus of her programs was curriculum development for adults with mental retardation and autism transitioning out of the special education school districts.  Her current major projects with Arts Horizons including the “Special Education Artist Academy for Arts and Autism” and “Hospital School programs” have been recognized with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Christopher Reeve Foundation, NYSCA, and the DANA foundation.  Dena’s skill set as a manager, trainer, recreation therapist, dancer and educator carefully guide teaching artists to effectively collaborate, educate and influence students with disabilities in partnership with school  and community special education teams.  Dena is also a modern dancer who performs in the New York City Modern dance community and teaches modern dance, jazz, ballet  and yoga, to students with, and without, disabilities.

For more information contact Dena Malarek, Director of Special Populations and NYC Residencies. dena@artshorizons.org

 

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ARTS HORIZONS RECEIVES QUALITY OF LIFE GRANT FROM CHRISTOPHER & DANA REEVE FOUNDATION

Arts Horizons, one of the largest arts-in-education organizations in the New York/Metropolitan area, has been awarded a Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation 1st Cycle 2013 Quality of Life grant to support the Arts Horizons “Art Beat” program.

 Founded in 1999 by the late Dana Reeve, The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is committed to supporting non-profit organizations that seek to improve the quality of life for people living with paralysis. This year the Foundation has awarded more than $500,000 in Quality of Life grants to 74 recipients in the United States and Canada.

 Arts Horizons will use the $5,745.00 grant to support its ArtBeat teaching artists. ArtBeat is a unique partnership between Arts Horizons, New York City Hospitals, and the New York City Department of Education. The program provides interactive music, theatre, and visual art workshops to promote rehabilitation, learning, and cultural experiences for special needs students with extended, and in some cases residential, hospital stays. The program has been adopted by five hospital school locations in New York City that provide psychiatric and rehabilitative care. ArtBeat merges the fields of art, healthcare and academics to create a space of comprehensive education, expression, nurturing and healing.

Image “We are honored and grateful to have the continued support of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation,” says Dena Malarek, Program Director. Our team of educators, artists, and healthcare professionals is continually eager to give hospitalized children access to create, express, and nurture their creative voice and transform the hospital experience”.

Quality of Life Grants 

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Quality of Life grants program was conceived by the late Dana Reeve to address the myriad needs of children and adults living with paralysis and other mobility impairments and their families. Grants support critical life-enhancing and life-changing initiatives that improve physical and emotional health and increase independence. The Foundation has awarded 2,205 grants totaling nearly $17 million to organizations since the program’s inception fourteen years ago.

 “It is the Reeve Foundation’s esteemed pleasure to award Quality of Life grants that will help the paralysis community enhance their freedom and independence,” said Niketa Sheth, Senior Vice President of Quality of Life of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. “We are thrilled to be able to align with organizations that believe in our mission and especially proud of this grant cycle’s reach and depth to fund multicultural programs, women’s initiatives, and support for caregivers and loved ones of injured service men and women.”

 About the Reeve Foundation
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. The Foundation meets all 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability and holds the BBB’s Charity Seal. The Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) is a program of the Reeve Foundation, and is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Award No. U59DD000838. For more information, visit the Foundation’s website at: ChristopherReeve.org or call 800-539-7309.

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