Congratuations to Erin Sweeney & Antonio Valla
Erin Sweeney (HKS '07) and Antonio Valla (GSD '08) each came to Newark over five years ago, Erin to return to the urban nonprofit sector after a stint in the Foreign Service, and Antonio to continue his dream work as an urban planner; each fell quickly and deeply in love with Newark. Antonio was first to connect with GlassRoots, an incredible nonprofit glass art studio that uses the power of fire and glass to transform lives, especially those of Newark youth. A year after joining the Board, Antonio introduced Erin to the organization and they have each been devoted volunteers and supporters of GlassRoots ever since.
GlassRoots is more than an art studio; it is an organization that has been changing the lives of thousands of youth, young adults, and adults since its start 15 years ago. GlassRoots uses various types of glass art methods to teach students not only about self expression and creativity, but about business, entrepreneurship, teamwork, patience, persistence, and much more. As volunteers and Board members, Erin and Antonio work countless hours each month assisting the organization. The highlight for both of them is whenever they teach career or life skill sessions to students in the programs.
Erin says, "It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life to watch our students grow in front of our eyes from timid, self-conscious, unsure teenagers into confident, proud, and motivated young adults. GlassRoots changes lives every day and is a true force for transformation, not only for our youth, but for the greater Newark community."
The mission of GlassRoots is to ignite and build the creative and economic vitality of greater Newark, with a focus on under-served youth and young adults, through the transformative power of the glass art experience.