Use the arts to reach the hearts

In July & August during the summer school break we financed the ‘Dance Summer Camp’ planned, organised and conducted by the Bent on Hope Foundation, a non-profit organisation seeking to help create change through the art of dance.

Their Mission is to provide youths an avenue of alternate escape from their everyday reality. Creating well rounded programs, geared towards the outward, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual development and expression of inner-city youths.

Sashagay Harris-Bent the Founder and CEO is a certified dance educator and Theatre Arts dance specialist, a graduate from The Edna Manley College with a Bachelors in Dance Education.

The ‘Summer Dance Camp’ was held in the community of Seaview Gardens on the premisses of the Seaview Gardens Primary School. The camp was held daily from Monday to Friday for 5 weeks and focused on the ages 10-18.

It was attended by an average 20-30 participants per day, which were taught a range of Jamaican and some Caribbean folk forms, as well as exposed to an introduction to basic Modern Contemporary, Dancehall, Sign Language, Choreography, Drumming and even Costume Design.

The Program Objectives

+ To unearth and develop creative arts talent, namely dance within Seaview Gardens and surrounding communities.

+ To increase recreational development for youths.

+ To use dance as a means of reformation, to enhance the way of life of youths through a changed way of thinking via an alternate means of self expression.

+ To awaken the interest of the youths, of their unique self worth and value. Making them more aware of their culture.

+ To provide the youths with exposure to the wider society, different personalities and the various school of thoughts that exist outside the walls of the Seaview Gardens Community.

+ To equip young men and women via the art of dance with some essential life skills, these include: discipline, self reliance, independent thinking, assertiveness, self worth and problem solving skills.

+ To diminish the common stigma attached to dance and inner city communities alike, show casing the importance of dance and its value to the Jamaican society.

The program aims to form a community dance club in the future, to perform at events in and outside of their immediate community and compete in the annual Festival of the Arts Competition (J.C.D.C).