April 2021 Newsletter

 Dear family and friends,                                                                        April 2021

April is child abuse prevention month
Did you know that 1 in 7 children in the US has experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year and that hospitalizations due to child abuse and neglect are rapidly increasing due to COVID-19 according to CDC reports?Following is a story about a girl named Alicia. (Pseudonym used to protect the individual’s privacy). She lives in a home in an urban underprivileged community. Her parents constantly fight and yell at each other. She is emotionally abused, lives in fear and rarely receives positive reinforcement at home. She relies on the compassionate staff at her public school, including teachers of the SAFE through the arts program, to give her the self-confidence and encouragement that she so desperately needs for her emotional, physical and spiritual growth. Absorbing the positive messages and compassion of the SAFE through the arts program, she begins to blossom. Imagine how bleak and frightening Alicia’s world must be for her now, not having been able to attend school in person for over a year. A weeklong break from school was devastating enough, exposing the young girl to non-stop violence at home. How will Alicia be able to withstand the continued, escalated abuse with her family without the intervention from her school counselors and the positive messages of the SAFE through the arts program? That’s where we you come in. The best answer that we have, while schools and educational programs are being closed due to COVID, is to continue to spread the positive messages of SAFE through the arts program through our internet and television programs. It is absolutely imperative that young children receive love and compassion during their early years of development in order for them to grow into well adjusted adults and members of our society. At Azalea Blossom, we believe the prevention and education are the keys to building a more equitable and peaceful society. And it all starts with our children, our most vulnerable population.

Spring fundraising campaign, April 7th- April 21th
We believe that we have important work to do and want to keep doing it.We need your help. During our spring fundraising campaign in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, we ask that you please recommit yourself to empowering children through the SAFE through the arts program.

We need to find fifty new Azalea Blossom Committed donors to be founding members of our ABC donor circle! Please be sure to look for your email on Wednesday instructing you on how you can benefit by being a founding member of our crucial support team. https://azaleablossom.com/donations/ 
Thank you, Mimi!
On Sunday, March 21, legendary jazz guitarist Mimi Fox played a beautiful, soul wrenching acoustic guitar concert to benefit the SAFE through the arts bullying prevention program’s new television pilot. Intertwined with her beautiful compositions and jazz standards was her own unique rendition of “Blackbird”. Even if you missed the facebook live event, you can still listen to her concert here. To learn more about Mimi and her exquisite music, please visit her website at https://www.mimifoxguitar.com

New website! 
We are ecstatic to announce that our new website is finally finished! Please give it a look and let us know what you think! We will be continuing to add to it so we hope that you will visit it often. www.azaleablossom.com 

Featured Volunteer of the Month- Chelsea Cross 
This month’s volunteer of the month is our beautiful, radiant and talented Chelsea Cross. Chelsea has been involved as a volunteer with Azalea Blossom since 2008 when she participated in the first SAFE through the arts curriculum retreat. Since then, she has volunteered as a Social Media Director through her high school IBM program and as a grant writer while attending Oberlin college. Currently, Chelsea is the secretary and treasurer for the Azalea Blossom Board of Directors and serves on a number of committees including the program committee and as the tech coordinator for Mimi Fox’s recent benefit concert. Chelsea works as a reading interventionist, computer science teacher and technology coordinator at the Dvorak School of Excellence in the North Lawndale community of Chicago. She is a dedicated, dynamic teacher who sets atainable goals for her students to achieve academically, socially, and emotionally. Previously, she has taught second and fifth grade at the Dvorak School and began her career in education while tutoring City Year students at Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio. Chelsea holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Hispanic Studies from Oberlin College as well as a Masters of Education degree from National-Louis University.

The enthusiasm that Chelsea has for working with students from underprivileged communities as well as her love for many art forms including music and dancing align perfectly with Azalea Blossom’s mission. The professional committment to an open line of communication that she has with her students and their families is also a huge asset as a board and committee member. Chelsea is a true team player and mentor and has been instrumental in helping both board members and staff feel acclimated not only to variety of technology platforms utilized within our organization but also to Azalea Blossom’s mission. Most of all, Chelsea always keeps a genuine smile on her face and is encouraging to all of our teammates. She is extremely dedicated to Azalea Blossom and its mission and is committeed to seeing our programs soar this year. She is a bright light on her team. We are most grateful for everything Chelsea has done and continues to do for Azalea Blossom.A person smiling in a car

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SAFE through the arts program update 
We are currently working on our pilot television program of SAFE through the arts. We are looking forward to bringing our award winning bullying prevention program to a wider audience through our new television series. Children will still be able to engage in creative and performing arts activities, interact with the puppets, sing songs and embrace the positive messages of SAFE through the arts while gaining tools to boost their self confidence, express their emotions and communicate with others compassionately. You can get a sneak peak Amanda Grace Dolph, one of our lead actors in the pilot, practicing the “Princess of Positivity” song here:
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In honor of child abuse prevention month, we also invite you to watch the SAFE through the arts song “I’ve Got Value” below, which promotes empowering children and building up their self-esteem. 
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Also, be sure to watch our dynamic puppet skits, which help bring to life the life lessons of the program. Your children will love them and relate to the diverse lovable characters. Click here to watch!

Thank you to our recent donors
Thank you to our March donors: Bill Glover, Cynthia Shephard, Melissa McGrath, Dan Greendale, Steven Gladstone, Steve Jacobs,  Julian Jacobs, Philip Campbell. We greatly appreciate your support! 

Team Shoutouts
Happy birthday to our team members, Nour Yamanita (April 2nd) and Steven Gladstone (April 13th).

Quote of the Month
“The courage to soar to great heights is inside all of us” (Kerri Strug)

With love, best wishes and gratitude, xo

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Margaret Jean Bernstein,
Founder and Executive Director,
Azalea Blossom, Incorporated
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