Dear Potential Donor,
I am a Brooklyn born self published author. My sister (Diana Olmedo) and I have recently created the Where I'm From Foundation for the Arts (WIFFA), an organization committed to arts education programs in schools. Through WIFFA, each year we will award at least one scholarship to a school to use towards a program aligned with our mission. The mission of our foundation is to raise awareness of the importance the Arts has on overall education and to raise funds for under funded inner city schools to use towards programs that focus on the Arts (language, performing, and visual).
Research has shown that involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skills. Arts learning can also improve motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork. My sister and I are both products of the NYC public system and it was in elementary school through a Big Book Library project where I was able to create my first book. It was where my love for writing began.
I have recently partnered with a local school in the Bronx (Christ the King Elementary School on 169th and Grand Concourse) to work with their 4th grade class on a book project. During a class exercise, a friend of ours who volunteers at the school, shared with the class my poem De Donde Vengo Yo (Where I'm From) which appears in my book Letters to My Daughter. After reading my poem, she had the class write their own versions of the poem as a way to get them interested in writing, but also to help them to think about themselves, specifically, about what they are most proud of. It was meant to be a self-esteem building exercise. She shared with me their poems and the poems not only touched my heart, but they were also beautifully written. They are full of pride and love and admiration for who they are and where they're from.
Needless to say, because I was so touched I have decided to compile their poems, edit them, and self publish them. My goal is to print professional copies of the book (I have enlisted a professional graphic designer, Sal Acosta, who has volunteered to design the book cover pro-bono) and give each of the students their very own copy because I want them to have something tangible. I want them to see their names and words in print and I want them to know that their words matter. What started off as just a small gesture from me has quickly turned into my passion project.
However, when I met with the principal of the school Ms. Tara Braswell to get permission to publish the pieces, I learned that the school is in need of a computer lab. While some computers have already been purchased (17) and Ms. Braswell is doing all she can to make the computer lab functional, the funds available are limited. After meeting and speaking with the children and seeing their excitement at the idea that they will be published writers I knew that I had to do all I could to help raise funds for this very important cause. Technology and computers are such a huge part of today's world and how we conduct business that these children should have access to the same opportunities afforded to other schools and school districts.
The goal of this campaign is to help raise money to fund the equipment, resources, and supplies necessary to make the computer lab fully functional. In addition, we are also in the planning stages of putting together a fundraiser that will take place this summer. We are asking you to please consider donating to this very important campaign. No contribution is too small and every dollar counts. And if you are unable to make a donation at this time please share this on your newfeeds and timelines and with your email contacts. I know that together we can make a difference. For more information on the school please visit their website at www.christthekingbronx.org
For more information on our organization please visit:
Nancy Ruffin & Diana Olmedo
Founders, Where I'm From Foundation for the Arts
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