Non-profit makes affordable art classes available in La Habra

A NON-PROFIT organization is bringing low-cost visual and performing arts workshops to the city of La Habra, Calif.
Oasis Center International,  kicked off the 2015 La Habra Community Arts Program at the Mysterium Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 10, a local venue in the city. The program offers various creative courses for children, including: creative art journaling, children’s theater, children’s tap dancing, architectural design and ceramic tile painting.
“The vision of Oasis is to inspire a generation of youth to fulfill their highest level of life achievements to discover and develop their inherent gifts,” said Jin Sung, executive director of Oasis, which was founded in 2012.
Doretha O’Quinn, provost at Vanguard University, spoke at the event in La Habra and cited a study by Stanford University and Carnegie Foundation highlighting the benefits of exposure to the arts.
The study found that young people who participate in the arts are: four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievements; three times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools, three times more likely to win an award for school attendance, four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair, participate in youth groups nearly four times as frequently, read for pleasure nearly twice as often and perform community service more than four times as often.
“There really are many paths to prosperity in a community, but I really believe that cultural arts development is a critical part of economic development…. We need to have our youth aspire to greatness, to be able to express themselves in a positive way, and Oasis Center International really has the foundation to make that happen,” Mark Sturdevant, president of the La Habra Area Chamber of Commerce, said at the opening ceremony on Saturday.
The program is geared toward low to moderate income families, with scholarships available for those who qualify. Workshops are primarily designed for specific age groups between 10 to 18 years old, depending on the subject matter.
But the program also offers a class for individuals ages 15 to 35 called Young Mom’s Delight, which seeks to empower at-risk young women and single mothers by helping them identify their talents and figure out how to create a business that can support themselves and their families.
Classes are scheduled once a week and take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, depending on the course.
Although these art workshops are offered in La Habra, Sung said they are not limited to residents in surrounding areas. Those interested and willing to commute longer distances to get to the city are welcome to participate. She also said the organization is looking to expand its reach in the future.
Kyodo Taiko drummers of the University of California, Los Angeles and tap dancer Jason Rodgers showcased their musical and artistic abilities through lively performances at the program’s opening ceremony. Their performances engaged and entertained audience members who filled the Mysterium Theatre.
After the Taiko drummers performed, Sung said she was moved and felt as though something was refreshed in her.
“This is such a testimony that there is power in the arts,” she said.

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