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Crafting Yourself: CU Denver students create a creative program for kids

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The students behind Crafting Yourself aren't all that much older than the six-graders their after-school program is designed to help. As part of the University Honors and Leadership program at the University of Colorado Denver, five senior scholars were given a year-long assignment to create a sustainable, innovative and creative project. They decided to bring arts and crafts back to eleven- and twelve-year-old children who do not currently have an arts program at school, and lack financial resources to fund their own involvement in the arts. See also: Dylan Scholinski seeks donations in his mission to bring art to troubled kids with gender issues

"By integrating arts and crafts, after-school enrichment and promotion of social emotional wellness, our program is truly a pilot for cost-effective improvement in the well-being of the children in our lives," says team leader Mirissa Price. "Students join on a craft-based treasure hunt to explore their identities and develop tools for resiliency."

Crafting Yourself was introduced at the STRIVE Prep Lake Campus, where "the population is largely minority and on free and reduced lunch," according to Price, at the end of January. Once a week through May 2, participating students gather after school for musical, creative and conversational activities; the curriculum includes improv, cooking, physical activity and, of course, crafts.

"The kids' enthusiasm and creativity is simply infectious, constantly reminding us why we are so passionate about this program," says Price. Right now there are only seven students enrolled, but the CU Denver team hopes to soon increase that to thirty.

And with any luck -- and a current fundraising campaign -- they'll expand the program to other DPS schools. Crafting Yourself was founded with just $1,200; with crowd-funding, they hope to raise $3,000 to expand the program. For more information, visit craftingyourself.

To make a donation, go to gofundme.

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