CENTERSTAGE Wins Grant to Expand Encounter Program

CENTERSTAGE has received a $13,516 A-Teams project grant to expand its weekly educational after-school program, Encounter. The grant was awarded by the Family League of Baltimore City and made possible by Mayor Martin O’Malley and the City Council.

As part of Baltimore’s “After School Strategy Project,” A-Teams are programs that provide City students access to a wide variety of enrichment activities and intensive, skill-building opportunities in academics, arts, or athletics during out-of-school hours.

CENTERSTAGE’s ongoing intensive after-school program, Encounter, is a diverse group of approximately 45 high school students—20 of whom are funded by the A-Teams grant—that meets on Monday afternoons from October through May to train as thespians and community activists. The program allows students to experience theater as a collective act of imagination and a powerful communication tool that can be used to break down barriers of class, race, and religion.

The A-Teams grant will allow the Encounter program to expand from two to three hours weekly, providing a more in-depth experience for the students. With the new aid, Encounter participants will be able to invite their parents to join them for three of the six CENTERSTAGE Mainstage productions that they will attend. The grant will also allow CENTERSTAGE to provide transportation support to participating teens and will supplement Encounter's recruitment of students in Baltimore who are deaf and hard of hearing—an initiative largely funded by the Arts Connect All grant, received earlier in 2005.

For more information about upcoming CENTERSTAGE plays, visit . For information on the Family League of Baltimore City, visit flbcinc.org

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This story was published on October 5, 2005.