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Volunteers keep art alive


April 02, 2014
Introducing kids to art is a passion for Amy Copeland, coordinator of Lilac School's Fine Arts Volunteer Education, or FAVE Program.

The Escondido teacher said that seeing school art programs be the first thing cut from curriculums and the success of Reedy Creek Elementary School's FAVE program compelled her to implement the same ideals into the program at the Valley Center school.

"Having taught the last few years and seeing the budget cuts and how art is the first thing to go I thought if we can get some volunteers in there and planning lessons and implementing lessons that way the kids will have those experiences… all those things that kids need," Copeland said. "Research shows that kids who do art perform better academically. Some kids excel academically, others artistically. It's a great program."

Copeland spoke with officials at Lilac School the year her daughter began kindergarten, offering to bring the program to Valley Center.

"The program was embraced wholeheartedly," she said. "It was just a way of bringing arts into the classroom."

With budget cuts continuing statewide, FAVE has to be creative in fundraising to ensure enough supplies are available for students at the school. One of those fundraising ideas, the annual FAVE Family Art Night is currently in the planning stages by Copeland and her team of volunteers.

"We had our first one last year and it was incredibly successful," Copeland said. "We are going to have live music and we take the courtyard of Lilac School and take thousands of pieces of artwork the kids have done throughout the year and hang it in the courtyard. We have make and take booths for the kids so they can make and take things that go along with our theme."

Copeland hopes to make the event this year even bigger and better than last year.

"We have an auction of different class projects and that is our primary fundraiser, each class gets together and does a project and then it's auctioned off in the silent auction," she said. "We are looking for local artists and local goods and services that we can auction off as well, anything that we can use to raise money."

Copeland said the group hopes to make Art Night a community event to raise money for the four-year-old program.

"Valley Center has amazing artists and we really want them to come and be part of this event," said Copeland noting plans are in the works to bring the program to all of Valley Center's elementary schools beginning next school year. "If we can get community support from everyone, whether their kids go to Lilac or not, the goal is that all the kids in Valley Center have the same opportunity at their elementary school.

The team is looking for artists to participate, donations from local and businesses and artists for the silent auction and for community members to come out and support the event.

"I think that there are kids who shine in the arts," Copeland said. "I think it affects all kids but it can change some kids'. We do this program to open up more opportunities for the kids. I want them to see art in action."

To donate or participate in the FAVE Family Art Night contact Copeland by email at teamcopeland@gmail.com. For more information on FAVE and see photos of the last year's event, visit https://favevolunteerslilac.shutterfly.com.

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