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HCC, Enchanted Circle Theater Partner on Summer Youth Program

HOLYOKE ­— Holyoke Community College (HCC) and Enchanted Circle Theater are joining forces to offer an in-person racial-justice program this summer for area youth.

Called “I Am Somebody,” the four-day, interactive performing-arts program will run Monday, July 19 through Thursday, July 22 from 9 a.m. to noon each day in the HCC Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development.

The program is free and limited to 15 youth ages 8 to 11 chosen through a lottery to be held Monday, June 21.

“Enchanted Circle is proud to offer this exciting, new, creative youth-development program in partnership with Holyoke Community College,” said Priscilla Kane Hellweg, executive and artistic director of Enchanted Circle Theater, a Holyoke-based nonprofit that combines arts and education. “The arts are such a powerful teaching and learning tool for the expression of cultural identity and an inspiring platform for getting to know ourselves and each other.”

Participants will explore racial justice through a variety of creative activities, including writing, music, visual art, movement, and theater.

“Students will be encouraged to find and use their own unique voices to express their understanding of equity and racial justice,” said Michele Cabral, HCC’s executive director of Professional Education and Corporate Learning. “In celebrating themselves, each other, and our collective community, they will examine how we are each unique, diverse, and yet all connected.”

Following the final session on July 22, parents are invited to attend a lunch and family arts-sharing celebration from noon to 1 p.m. in the Kittredge Center.

The sessions will be led by Enchanted Circle teaching artists Maya Rivera and Axel Cruz. Rivera is a visual artist, performer, vocalist, and photographer who holds a bachelor’s degree in theater from Smith College. Cruz, who has theater degrees from HCC and UMass Amherst, is an actor, dancer, choreographer, theater director, stage manager, and designer.

In advance of the June 21 lottery, interested parents and their children are invited to attend a virtual family information session on Thursday, June 13 at 5:30 p.m.

To sign up for the information session or to apply for the “I Am Somebody” program, e-mail Sharon Grundel at [email protected].

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