Every day I get to work, I know I’m opening doors to more than just a building. For more than 40 years, The Steinbach Arts Council has been opening doors of opportunity and unlocking potential in kids and adults from across the region. In fact, the Steinbach Arts Council opened their door to me over 25 years ago.
Right now, the world is opening its doors again, after two years of being closed due to the pandemic. As a result, I’m lucky to say that I have recently been able to watch my kids participate in life again. I watched my daughter play basketball and perform live with a choir, all in the same week. It amazed me how her team moved together across the court, how they watched for each other, supported each other, and tried their hardest, for each other. I was also blown away at how her choir moved together, listened to each other, and supported each other as they sang. Both teams worked hard, showing me, as a parent, that the skills our kids are learning are the same in both activities.
After the choir performance, which was for a small audience of family, my daughter asked, “Why were so many people crying during the concert?” I imagine most audience members would say one of two things:
- “It’s so great to see kids participating in the things they love after being restricted for so long”, or
- “Music is healing, and its so good to experience that amazing art form.”
Both of those things are true, but here’s the third reason, which is what made me cry:
Those kids, despite being separated from each other physically during much of the pandemic, still met online, they still worked hard for their team, they still learned their music, and that work – as difficult as it was – paid off. They DID connect and commit to the group, and they DID learn and develop skills while they were apart because we had the resources and technology to bring them together. And the instructors to inspire them. That evidence of endurance, resilience, and ultimately success, is what made me most proud.
I often tell people that I’m not sure what I would have done, if I hadn’t found opportunity at SAC more than 25 years ago. (I remember it like it was yesterday.) That first experience performing in a community show was the first time I had the opportunity to test my skills outside of school. And it ignited a passion in me. Involvement in the arts was (and is) where I feel at home, and its possible that I would have been left behind if I hadn’t found the thing that drove me to succeed, to strive for excellence, to commit, and to lead with the skills I had started developing.
As the person in charge of creating programming at the Steinbach Arts Council, I’m honored to now have the responsibility to provide opportunities for others. Opportunities to invest in a hobby or a skill. Opportunities to connect with community, and create. Opportunities to belong. To feel at home.
With the 50/50 for kids campaign about to start, we get to highlight the free After School Arts Program. A program that is open to anyone in grade 5-12. No barriers. No limits. And with a focus on wellness this year, we’re doing everything in our power to give every kid a chance to get involved and find something that they love in the world of arts. To feel at home. To belong.
This spring, consider opening a door for a kid. With your help, we might just help create a leader or two.