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Grantee Spotlight: MarbleJam Kids

MarbleJam Kids is an organization that serves individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and related developmental disabilities with Creative Arts Therapies and opportunities for arts experiences. The programs offered range in individual therapeutic sessions to group activities, each using the mediums of art as its focus. The activities assist individuals with expression, communications, social skills building and peer interaction. For the families served, MarbleJam Kids is a welcoming center of enrichment for growth and building relationships, in a trusting and safe environment. MarbleJam Kids was founded by parents of children with special needs, and continues today to meet the needs of those in the community.

MarbleJam Kids is proud to celebrate the abilities of those with special needs. One of the recent program additions is MarbleJam Kids Artworks, an adult pre-vocation arts experience program. The classes in creative arts, jewelry making, and photography have been a huge success and the adults even sold their jewelry products in a boutique, and had two gallery showings of their framed photography prints. These programs, in addition to filling a gap in availability of services to those over 21 years of age, demonstrate the true mission of the organization. When given the opportunity, individuals with all abilities can contribute to themselves and the communities in which they live. Our goal is to continue to offer these opportunities.

We find that it is essential to expose individuals to these learning opportunities at a young age, so that the development of the whole person is an ongoing process of exploration and skill building. One of our participants, Zack, only came to us as an adult. His past experience in learning was from his specialized education program, for academics structure and social function. He didn’t have opportunities in the past to experience arts classes, nor therapeutically supported arts enrichment groups. We found that Zack flourished when exposed to the arts. He demonstrated a skill in drawing that was unknown to his family. Each day at MarbleJam Kids he is pushed to explore this creative side, and is now creating art pieces that he is proud to share. The arts have opened doors of expression and communication, and given him interests that will form peer relationships with others in his group. His mother shared with us her thoughts: “I’m hoping this new found ability will provide Zack with a rewarding hobby that will foster learning and provide him with an interesting and soothing outlet to help relieve him of some of his anxiety. Sometimes parents can’t see all that their child can be. It’s so important to have talented providers who can help unlock our children’s hidden assets. Zack arrived at MarbleJam’s door as an adult. It’s nice to know school is not the end of our children’s education. There are places like MarbleJam to provide life-long learning opportunities.”

This story is an example of the amazing potential we see each day in the individuals served at MarbleJam Kids. It solidifies the need to continue our mission and give everyone, regardless of challenges and different abilities, opportunities for growth. The arts are a beautiful way to bring people together for social, emotional and community activities. MarbleJam Kids is proud to be able to offer arts opportunities to all.

To learn more about MarbleJam Kids visit: http://www.marblejamkids.org

Zach Starry Night


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