A Harris County nonprofit offers an after-school fine arts program

HARRIS COUNTY, Georgia (WRBL) – Finding a home in Harris County is the Experiential Arts Center, an after-school program for students who love the arts.

“There aren’t many after-school or in-school classes that offer things like cooking, sewing or sign language, so it was very important for us to offer those fine arts,” said the director of the Center for the Experiential Arts, Dawn Hiers. .

Hiers says there are plenty of places for athletes in Harris County, but says the fine arts are just as important.

“Studies have shown that students learn more and do better in school, if they also benefit from these classes,” Hiers said.

The center operates as an after-school program for students in grades 1-12, offering a wide range of lessons, from music and marketing to guitar and gardening and more, all infused with lessons leadership.

“Our real focus when we formed our advisory committee, we said we really wanted to influence children with character and leadership, good values ​​and service to others,” said FOCUS Ministries Executive Director Kathy Carlisle. .

Carlisle says integrating character lessons into fine arts classes is the long-term plan when it comes to developing the next generation in Harris County.

“These students, we really see that they’ll come back when they’re adults, and they’ll influence other kids in the community, and come back and make a difference, we’ve just seen it in the long run, that if we can influence the kids now, it will be the next generation coming back to influence Harris County,” Carlisle said.

In addition to building leadership, the center also hopes to build trust, and Hiers says she’s seen that in real time.

“I was surprised at how emotional it was to see these kids walk into drama class and I was scared to talk to people and get on stage and perform,” Hiers said.

Entering its fourth semester, classes are now open for the fall.

To find out how to enroll in the after-school program and how you can volunteer, visit www.eacfocus.org/