Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania announced four winning schools in the NRG Energy Creatively Green Award competition, sponsored by Princeton-based energy company NRG Energy, Inc. Each winning school will host its own NRG Creatively Green Family Arts Festival, worth up to $10,000. The two- to three-hour family arts festivals will consist of a dynamic performance by a Young Audiences artist focusing on the importance of protecting our environment, several hands-on art-making workshops that promote environmental sustainability led by Young Audiences’ professional teaching artists and a community art project to be played, displayed or shared during the event. “We received many compelling applications from schools across New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania each demonstrating exciting “green” initiatives and programs,” said program coordinator Jacqueline Knox of Young Audiences. “It was really encouraging for us to see so much interest in bringing sustainable education to students and families.” Out of 16 New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania schools that applied, the four winning schools are:
- Bayville School – This Bayville, NJ school, which is the oldest public building in their district, was financially and emotionally impacted by Sandy storm damage, causing them to cancel many free family events they had previously been able to host. Principal Mary Guinan said, “The amazing phenomenon is…our school family finds a way to teach and enrich students and works tirelessly, hand-in-hand to give our families the best that we can.”
- Christa McAuliffe School PS #28 (CMS) – This inner-city school serving 1,017 diverse students is located in Jersey City, NJ. CMS has a “Green Team” comprised of students and staff that coordinate many eco-friendly activities and outreach programs including, recycling programs, neighborhood clean-ups and “Project Reservoir”, a nationally recognized and award-winning, multi-year, multi-disciplinary sustainable living project for their middle school students. Principal Dr. Jane Elder wrote in her school’s application that, “a Creatively Green Family Arts Festival would give us the chance to not only expose our students and families to the arts, but also reinforce our schools involvement in environmentally friendly activities and projects.”
- Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School – In line with current efforts by Philadelphia, PA schools to “go green,” the Home and School Association of Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School started a Green Committee that started a recycling program that newly labeled their school as an official “Green Ribbon School.” Cook-Wissahickon’s Green Committee, known as the Wissahickon Sustainability Council (WSC), is helping transform the school and grounds into an environmentally friendly and more sustainable campus. Principal Karen Thomas stated, “We, as a school, use what we have, we share, we help where we can, we take turns and we ask for the support of our local community businesses to aid us when we need help.”
- Environment Community Opportunity (ECO) Charter School – Camden, NJ-based ECO Charter School hosted a popular Earth Day Event and recently launched a new course where students learn about the environment, sustainability and gardening. Every ECO student also performed in “Green, The Musical” that taught the audience about recycling through acting, dancing and singing. Lead Person/Founder & Head Dr. Antoinette C. Dendtler said, “Our students are the children of Camden – we work to ensure they grow to become adept learners, community leaders and environmental stewards. The theme of this festival perfectly aligns with our mission and vision.”
The NRG Creatively Green Awards were created to put on events that incorporate family involvement and fun, creative education on the science of sustainability. In addition to funding the program, NRG employees will also volunteer their time helping at the events.About Young Audiences Founded in 1973, Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania is the premiere arts-in-education resource in the region, providing high-quality performances and artist-in-residence programs to nearly 500,000 children pre-kindergarten through 12th grade annually. Young Audiences’ extensive professional artist roster represents all art forms—from dance and theater to music, language and visual arts. The Young Audiences program, Arts for Learning, brings arts-based literacy programs to elementary school teachers, helping them improve student reading and writing. This arts-integrated approach helps students learn literacy concepts and skills using dance, music, theater and visual arts as teaching tools. Young Audiences’ programs are accessible to all socio-economic, ethnic, cultural, and geographic communities, and are designed to strengthen the arts in schools, meet local and state curriculum standards, involve families in arts activities, and enrich cultural life in New Jersey and Pennsylvania communities. Young Audiences New Jersey & Pennsylvania is the first arts education organization designated as a major service organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and, as part of the national network of Young Audiences, Inc. was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton. Projects like this and the 4,000 programs provided annually by Young Audiences are made possible in part through a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State and Pennsylvania Council of the Arts. Additional funds come from the National Endowment for the Arts, foundations, corporations and generous individuals. To learn more, visit www.yanj-yaep.org. To be “social” with us, join us on Facebook. About NRG NRG is at the forefront of changing how people think about and use energy. We deliver cleaner and smarter energy choices for our customers, backed by the nation’s largest independent power generation portfolio of fossil fuel, nuclear, solar and wind facilities. A Fortune 300 company, NRG is challenging the U.S. energy industry by becoming the largest developer of solar power, building the first privately-funded electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and providing customers with the most advanced smart energy solutions to better manage their energy use. In addition to 47,000 megawatts of generation capacity, enough to supply nearly 40 million homes, our retail electricity providers – Reliant, Green Mountain Energy and Energy Plus – serve more than two million customers. More information is available at www.nrgenergy.com. Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy.