Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey Receives $39,593 Grant from Jackson County COMBAT Violence Prevention

Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (KCFAA) was recently awarded a $39,593 grant from Jackson County COMBAT Violence Prevention. Funding will be utilized to support KCFAA’s signature program, which uses the arts coupled with an intensive personal development curriculum framework that includes the Oakland Men’s Project “How to Stop the Violence That Tears Our Lives Apart” curriculum, and creative writing classes.

The project implements structured recreational interventions and strategically selected, age-relevant group discussion topics about reducing violence. The focused classes, workshops and field trips teach youth to improve critical thinking and problem-solving. They also help youth build the personal tools they need to avoid crime and eliminate or prevent their own victimization or trauma. Students receive backpacks, uniforms, and school supplies. Also, for any unanticipated changes from in-person to virtual programming, students receive technology equipment and hot spots to address any identified equipment and connectivity issues.

Much more than dance programming, KCFAA’s Ailey Camp helps students, primarily underserved youth of color, develop their skills in areas of social-emotional skill-building, enhancing coping skills, strengthening relationships and community engagement, and related skills.

Ailey Camp is a summer school-based program created by KCFAA for 100 middle school-age youth annually. Campers attend from 7:30 am to 2:50 pm, Monday through Friday, for six weeks in June/July. Ailey Camp is held at the Paseo Academy for Fine and Performing Arts in Jackson County. Bus transportation, camper supplies, backpacks, dance attire, and meals are provided at no cost to low-income participants and concludes with a free public performance where campers rely on their newly learned personal development skills to showcase their dance skills on stage in front of hundreds of friends, family, and community members. The performance typically takes place at Paseo Academy of the Fine and Performing Arts Main Stage Theater.