An afterschool creative arts and literary program is currently enrolling students who live three Little Rock ZIP codes.
Our Club, which is part of Pulaski County Youth Services, is an art-infused program for 12- to 17-year-olds, offering lessons in creative writing, spoken-word poetry, painting, theater and improv, said Program Director Chris James.
“The program helps kids get in touch with their creative selves and makes them more intellectual,” James said. “Art makes people look at the world differently.”
Our Club is open to kids living in 72204, 72205 and 72211 ZIP codes, James said. He and his team have been visiting schools to recruit students for the program, which he is hoping to grow. Our Club also held a summer program, with about 60 children enrolled.
The Our Club program is free, and will start after school and run until about 7 p.m. It will focus on three main components: educational enrichment, cultural enrichment and health and fitness. To teach these lessons, James said he works in collaboration with other organizations and sometimes takes the students on field trips.
James, a photographer, artist and member of Foreign Tongues, a spoken-word poetry group, said he loves getting young people excited about the arts that he loves so much. He said often the kids expect that learning about poetry will be boring, but when they see that performance and storytelling is involved, they quickly become inspired.
“I love to see them excited about what I love,” James said. “It’s exciting to see young people get excited about something they initially perceive as boring. The goal is reach one, teach one and inspire two. And, the cycle continues.”
Pulaski County Youth Services is a coalition of county, state and local governments, service organizations, businesses, churches, civic groups and associations developed. Our Club is just one of the many programs provided to youth to help them excel in all areas of life. Other Pulaski County Youth Services programs include ACT preparation, cooking, literacy, mentoring and more. For more information, call (501) 340-8250 or visit www.pulaskicountyyouthservices.org.