This afternoon, over a dozen greater Newark high school students who have spent the last academic year creating their own glass art and an accompanying business plan for marketing and selling their one-of-a-kind pieces will showcase their work at our 13th Annual Business Plan Competition and Trade Fair. The GlassRoots FLAME and Business & Entrepreneurship Programs, dedicated to nurturing and guiding the entrepreneurial spirit, are modeled after the curriculum from the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, an international non-profit organization that introduces youth to the world of entrepreneurship.
Youth entrepreneurship is a proven strategy that positively impacts the lives of young people, particularly those hard to reach, disadvantaged and at-risk youth we serve here at GlassRoots. Participants in our youth entrepreneurship programs have shown improvements in their communication, decision-making and goal-setting abilities and have an increased interest in attending college while simultaneously decreasing their exposure to at-risk behaviors. Over the past three years, 100% of our students eligible to graduate from high school have in fact graduated, with most heading to postsecondary programs.
Our programs offer a plethora of benefits, including financial education, role models and the necessary tools to successfully design and operate a business. These programs also offer our youth an opportunity to take risks, manage the results and learn from the outcomes while also motivating them to be productive and engaged in their communities.
This year, students in the school-day FLAME program were challenged to design a product that could retail at Whole Foods for $19.99 or less; thus the students had to reverse engineer glass art products and create a design that could wholesale no more than $8/piece, which could be made numerous times and were salable. They rose to the challenge, and you can now purchase their work in the Whole Foods in Downtown Newark. We know that by embracing youth entrepreneurship we are positioning our community to generate and retain wealth. Over the last 20 years, entrepreneurship has accounted for more than 75% of all new jobs in America. By supporting youth entrepreneurship programs, we’re not only improving our local economy, we are strengthening America’s economy and offering opportunities for youth to build wealth, and envision a new future.
What do glassblowing and dance have to do with each other? How do you connect fractions with Warhol? At GlassRoots, the answer is arts integration. Every teaching artist is committed to weaving the arts and standard curricula together to create a richer and more lasting learning experience for everyone who visits.
GlassRoots classes for youth in 5th through 12th grades are grounded in STEAM (STEM + Art) and enhance classroom work with real life experience. Our programs are offered at our studios and, with limitations, at schools off site. When students visit GlassRoots they have the opportunity to visit one, two or three art studios, known as the Flame Shop, the Flat Shop or the Hot Shop. All glass art projects include lessons on basic color and design theory, and introduction to and practice with glass tools.
No material inspires more creativity than glass! Scientists and artists alike have revered glass for the way it handles light and color, changes shape and take on new forms, while maintaining stability and strength. Artists, architects, engineers, and designers are turning to glass for its stunning characteristics. Glass is a natural material for joining art and STEM education in both practical and creative ways. Students enhance math skills by making sense of problems and persevering in solving them, reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, constructing viable arguments, modeling with mathematics, using appropriate tools strategically, attending to precision, looking for and making use of structure, looking for and expressing regularity in repeated reasoning.
Glass can demonstrate and help students understand core concepts and principles of science and use measurement and observation tools to assist in categorizing, representing, and interpreting the natural and designed world. GlassRoots’ scientific vocabulary and terminology include gravity, viscosity, temperature, gas/heat, chemicals, mandrel, torch, vermiculite among many others.
For Earth Science educators, in collaboration with Rutgers – Newark’s Earth Science Department, GlassRoots offers the Glass Volcano Experience, a hands-on STEAM-based workshop that uses molten glass to teach 6-12th grade students about the science and behavior of volcanoes. The Glass Volcano Experience is a two-hour workshop which includes four interactive components:
We're always checking to make sure our programs are having the impact we intend -- on some days the evidence jumps out at us. One of our Business and Entrepreneurship students opened up to Jason recently about the many obstacles that she has gone through in the last few years; suffice it to say she has had a tough time. Over the last few months, we watched her really fall in love with hot glass; it has totally consumed her life – giving her a focus and pushing out those bad experiences. She watches videos in her spare time and doodles glass designs on paper. After some contemplation about her experience at GlassRoots, she decided to visit a university in upstate New York known for its glass art program..
Here’s the news: She has been accepted into their art program, and now plans to continue studying glass art. This summer she will be also taking advantage of a scholarship offered by our wonderful partners at Urban Glass to learn the techniques of neon through the talented artist, Leo Tecosky. Some days just make ours smiles bigger.
Did you know that young workers, ages 16 to 24, have unemployment rates well over twice the national average—at 15 percent!
Tariq was a talented but underemployed young adult on the verge of homelessness. He didn’t know if he could ‘afford’ to participate in GlassRoots’ Scientific Glassblowing Program – his job at Dunkin Donuts kept him fed.
Stories like this one are all too common here at GlassRoots - young people with talent who can’t see beyond their present to a more promising future, one that would allow them to earn a living wage and end their daily worries.
We designed our post high-school college and career programs to be high impact and demonstrate a great payoff for young adults, ages 18-24, like Tariq. Glass art programs like this one – high touch and intensive -- are expensive. In fact, we need to raise $60,000 by June 30 to fund our operating and program budgets.
Tariq made his vision for a different future a reality. By completing our concentrated 12-week program, which provided hands-on scientific and artistic glassblowing, classes in financial literacy and artisan-oriented entrepreneurship, an on-the-job internship, and a network of support; Tariq was able to begin a new job, with solid pay and benefits.
Your donation will change the story for many youth and young adults from Newark and other NJ communities, just like it did for Tariq.
Here’s how your dollars will make an impact here:
With our gratitude,
Barbara Heisler, Executive Director
PS. Together, we can change the outcomes. We need to fully fund our programs and operations by 6/30. Please send your gift today.
I never gave the word “Yes” much thought before. It was simply an affirmative reply to a question, or the opposite of “No.” And surely, “No” is more frequently the word of choice.
So, naturally, that’s what Jules assumed he would hear when he applied to our Varis Scientific Glassblowing Program. After all, he first heard about the program after the application deadline. And he had no glass experience. And, and, and… “No” is what he always has heard.
The word “Yes” only contains three letters, but the power of its meaning can change the world when spoken.
Jules is a young father who has been working as a driver for several years. He is seeking a more promising future so he can stay connected to his daughter. Thanks to the generosity of our donors we were able to say “Yes” to him, to his future, to his daughter. He is one of the most promising students in the program this year. We expect that he’ll hear many more yeses following his graduation.
Your generous donations allow us to say “Yes” much more often.
Your donation of $200 will mean we can say “Yes” to a local nonprofit asking if they can bring a group over for an hour workshop after school. And $2,500 will allow us to say a resounding “Yes” to 15 students wanting to participate in a 10-week residency.
At a time when too many are hearing “No”, we look to you for a “Yes.”
With our best wishes this holiday season,
This article about GlassRoots Varis Scientific Glassblowing Apprentice Program, penned by ED Barbara Heisler, appeared in the November issue of FUSION: The Journal of the American Scientific Glassblowers Society.
Five Apprentices completed a demanding 12-week program - graduating on December 15, 2016.
Learn more about this year's class here!
We've just gotten a link to a fabulous video that aired this past weekend on the acclaimed PBS program "State of the Arts." You can watch our segment on the show here.
Big props to Kate Dowd! Kate took the initiative to run a Facebook fundraiser on her personal page the last two weeks of November! With some extra pushes via emails and FB postings, donors, including friends, staff, and board members, donated $1,100. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be matching up to $1,000 making the total money raised on giving Tuesday. We’d be happy to show you how to run a personal fundraiser via FB or our new website!
We’re finishing an exciting year (our year ends 6/30) here at GlassRoots.
Over 1500 youth and nearly that many adults took classes with us.
Our evaluation process tell us that our youth and young adult programs are impactful – from our brief exposure programs (field trips, single classes), to our long-term youth programs (on-site residencies, our year-long Business and Entrepreneurship and FLAME programs and our summer Youth Leadership Corp), and our workforce development programs for young adults providing paths to careers (Scientific Glassblowing) and supplemental income (Craft Entrepreneurship through the Bead Shop), we’re making a difference.
In September, we’ll be launching our newest post-high program to move emerging young artists on paths to a college education, with our partners at Penland School of Crafts.
So exciting! Happy New Year!