Asante Children’s Theatre and Partners to Create Sankofa Paradigm for Girls
Women’s Fund of Central Indiana announced tonight at its annual event, Power of Women’s Fund Philanthropy, the recipient of a $750,000 grant that will be distributed over three years. The grant was awarded to Asante Children’s Theatre to create the Sankofa Paradigm Program, a trauma-informed, healing-centered, therapeutic theatre program for girls ages 8-18 at Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis.
The new program is a partnership between Asante Children’s Theatre, Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis, Community Health Network, and Dr. Sally Wasmuth of the IUPUI School of Health and Human Science. The collaboration relies on the therapeutic benefits of culturally appropriate theatre and art as a healing technique to help girls process trauma and adverse childhood experiences.
Through theatre games, storytelling, enactment and performance, girls will have a space to express their feelings, solve problems and work together to present a collective narrative. Community Health Network and IUPUI staff will provide mental health support to the girls in the program and may connect them to more extensive mental health services as needed.
“Asante Children’s Theatre has created a bold, innovative and positively disruptive initiative to increase mental health services to underappreciated girls of color in our community.”
Women’s Fund announced the $750,000 grant opportunity in 2018 with the goal to fund culturally appropriate programming for girls that helps dispel myths and misunderstanding about emotional well-being. A taskforce reviewed grant applications for nine months before selecting Asante Children’s Theatre as the recipient.
“Asante Children’s Theatre has created a bold, innovative and positively disruptive initiative to increase mental health services to underappreciated girls of color in our community,” said Jennifer Pope Baker, executive director of Women’s Fund. “The emotional well-being of these young girls is critical to their long-term success in life and they are an important part of the future of our community.”
The grant is made possible with funds raised from ticket sales of “A Moderated Conversation with Former First Lady Michelle Obama,” a 2018 event hosted by Women’s Fund and presented by Cindy Simon Skjodt, Deborah Joy Simon, and Robin Nelson-Rice & Derica Rice. The event raised $1 million for the community. The additional $250,000 was awarded to Bellfound Farm, an initiative of Women’s Fund.