WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — An arts nonprofit is trying to raise funds to help Washington Heights high schoolers get free rides to college.
Statement Arts has taken to IndieGoGo to raise money for a summer college prep class for soon-to-be college incoming seniors. The prep class would students ace their college applications by tweaking entrance essays, portfolios and, if the student is applying to theater program, coaching them up for their auditions.
Co-founder Liza Politi said the group needs to raise $8,500 to fully fund the prep class, which would be held from July 15 to August 2 at the United Palace of Cultural Arts.
It has raised more than $5,030 as of Tuesday afternoon. The IndieGoGo campaign runs through June 29.
Statement Arts was founded in 2003 and supplemented the arts program at the High School for Environmental Studies for nine years. Last year, the group branched out to the Heights, holding a summer session for 10 high schoolers at at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Center.
Of the 10 students, Politi said that nine of them were accepted to college, with two students getting full scholarships to Marymount Manhattan College and the Fashion Institute of Technology.
"We were able to use arts as a way to bring kids together and unite them," Politi said. "And the best part was that not everyone went to arts schools. Some kids that went for arts, some kids went for science."
In addition to coaching up seniors, Statement Arts is also aiming to host art and music camps for children in grades 3-10.
"We are an arts organization and so our path is through the arts," Politi said. "But the skills transfer. If you provide students with the skill set that is necessary to stand up and be heard and to speak with strength, all of those skills are necessary if they're going to do anything."
Even though the program isn't fully funded, eight of the 10 summer spots have been filled. Parents are interested in enrolling their children in the summer courses can visit the Statement Arts website at www.statementarts.org.