Happy Spring! As the season is (finally) changing, and a spirit of renewal is amongst us, it is with great excitement that we share with you our big news - GlassRoots is moving to a new home within the next year! Our mission to counter the challenges youth face by providing a safe environment, positive role models, and rigorous program and skill development opportunities through the creation of glass art is continuous and our impact has an important place in the lives of youth from Newark and around the state. By relocating to more accommodating space, we envision growing our services for youth and their families and, by extension, helping to strengthen the local economy and contributing to a thriving arts community.
Support for our move has been tremendous – at the time of this letter, we’ve raised over 70% of the capital funds needed to properly build out our new space. That funding, however, doesn’t cover the day-to-day costs of offering our unique STEAM-grounded glass-art classes and entrepreneurship programs, in which our students gain hands-on experience in chemistry, physics, math and engineering while becoming entrepreneurs as they create and market their glass products.
Your support of our annual fund is essential for GlassRoots to continue providing students the experience of success in our studios, which impresses upon them that they can become agents of their own learning -- leading them to a brighter, more productive future.
Investment in real work experience for vulnerable youth can improve their understanding of the value of education and increase their self-esteem and ambition, while increasing prospects for future employment, whether they are heading to higher education or seeking job opportunities within their communities.
We look forward to welcoming more young people into our new studios, engaging them like we did Maya Curry in 2008. Maya shared:
GlassRoots strongly contributed to my confidence and customer service/people skills – both of which have been key to every success I have had thus far. I found GlassRoots at a point in my development where I was still growing and learning to be comfortable in my own skin. I was given so many opportunities to interact with the public in ways that helped me shed my some of shyness and discomfort with public speaking. At GlassRoots I was able to experiment and ask questions without judgment. My curiosities were always encouraged, which I think is incredibly important for young people, especially young women.
Maya graduated from Saint Vincent’s Academy here in Newark in 2009. During her high school career Maya participated in our Summer Youth Leadership program, and then our Business and Entrepreneurship programs – creating a glass jewelry business called Genesis Glass for “people who have a funky sense of style!”
Our youth entrepreneurship programs combine hard business skills with the beauty of glass art. In addition to important business concepts, our programs teach skills associated with entrepreneurs, such as money management, financial literacy and interpersonal communications, which are relevant and beneficial for day-to-day life. During the last 4 years, 100% of the students in our youth entrepreneurship programs who have been eligible to graduate high school have graduated.
Following high school graduation, Maya went on to receive her BA from Montclair State University, and she now works here in Newark at the Newark Regional Business Partnership as their Director of Communications.
Maya went on to say that people should know that “GlassRoots is a safe haven where kids and young adults from a variety of cultural and financial backgrounds can meet, flourish and gain unique skills.”
Your gift to GlassRoots ensures that more students will have the opportunity to experience this unique, safe, supportive community. GlassRoots contributes directly to students’ successes.
We live in a world in which the future is uncertain, people rarely retire from a career that they started after high school or college; the average worker currently holds ten different jobs before age forty, and this number is projected to grow. We know that young people need skills that will allow them to make their own way, and since we can't predict the job market our youth will enter, we can’t know the exact content our students will need in order to be successful after they leave our programs. But, we know without a doubt, that our students will need skills that will allow them to navigate uncertain waters and chart their own paths. Our programs teach skills -- that are not uniquely relevant to any singular career path. After all, one can be an entrepreneur in any field, so it stands to reason that the skills needed for starting a business would also be desirable in terms of being an employee. Our entrepreneurship education teaches these skills.
Entrepreneurship education equips students to seek out problem-solving opportunities, empathize with others, think creatively, take risks, accept failure as part of the growth process, and appreciate the correlation between hard work and success.
Your support to GlassRoots is central in our impact and in the lives of our students. Please join us by making a gift today to revel in what’s been accomplished since 2001 and to celebrate what’s ahead!
With our great thanks,
Barbara Heisler, CEO