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Impact Stories

I can now say ‘yes’

My daughter Mya looks for the Woodlawn program guide in the mail every year. The day it comes she drops everything and spends hours poring over it and circles all of the programs she would like to participate in. We used to have to narrow it down to one because that was all I could afford. But with the scholarship, I can now say “yes” to more than one instead of “which one would you rather”. This year I also found a class that would interest me, but I probably would not spend the money on myself, unless it was more affordable, which the scholarship has done. Thank you!

Marsha S.

2017

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Impact Stories

He will take what he has learned … and the friendships made … with him for the rest of his life

My son Noah and I have benefited from Woodlawn Arts Academy’s financial assistance program in many ways. Last school year I used the financial aid to enroll my son Noah into the 3-year-old preschool program. Because of attending this preschool program Noah was able to learn many skills needed to be prepared to successfully enter kindergarten. Noah learned how to recognize several letters, as well as the sounds that they make. Noah even learned how to write his name on his own. Because of the Zoo-phonics program used by the preschool teaching staff, Noah learned fun songs and did several art projects with the letters of the alphabet which helps him to retain the information. Not only was Noah taught letters and numbers in Woodlawn Preschool program but this program also helped him to further develop his social and emotional skills. Woodlawn provided a nurturing environment where Noah was able to learn to socialize and play with other children his age. Along with academically preparing my child for preschool and kindergarten, one of the best ways that Noah benefited from Woodlawn’s Preschool program was through learning the arts. Noah learned so much about music and dance. He came home every week singing a new song. A lot of the information that the children were learning about were tied to a specific song. One of my favorites was about how to spell the color red. Because of the songs my son was better able to retain the information. Noah also really benefited from acting out stories and participating in classroom plays. One of our favorites is the “Big Pumpkin” play done at Halloween time. He loved being a part of this play. To this day the Big Pumpkin is still one of his favorite books to read and I thank Woodlawn Preschool for the wonderful experience.

Lastly, Woodlawn’s Preschool staff is more loving and caring than any other daycare or school that we have been to the past. Miss Becky and the preschool teachers treat my son like one of their own. It is a very loving and nurturing environment. Noah received a lot of one on one individual learning time from his teachers. I feel that he learns better this way and it was a definite benefit to preparing him for kindergarten. Even when Noah was sick or when I was having a difficult time, Becky and the teacher took the time out of their busy days to reach out to ensure things were alright. Furthermore, Woodlawn offered parent teacher conferences a couple times a year. These were very helpful in learning about my child’s progress as well as what we needed to continue to work on.

In conclusion, my son’s enrollment in Woodlawn’s Preschool program has benefited him in more ways than I have even stated in this paragraph. I think that he will take what he has learned at Woodlawn and the friendships made and take them with him for the rest of his life.

I really need the financial assistance Woodlawn offers because without it my son could not enjoy the benefits of Woodlawn’s programs. I am a single mother with a limited income. Noah’s father is not involved and I don’t receive any child support. In April 2019 I lost my job which was very difficult for my son and I financially. I was able to find another position but making much less. This financial hardship has taken a huge toll on my family. I just do not want my child to miss out on important educational programs because of my inability to pay for them. I want Noah to be able to experience the benefits of Woodlawn’s Preschool program. Without the financial assistance Noah will not be able to attend this program that he really loves.

Linnsey S.

2019

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Impact Stories

Helped her open up and try new things

My daughter was able to receive a great Pre-K education with the financial assistance. She would like to continue to enjoy exploring her art hobbies and growing with them. It really has helped her open up and try new things. She has really grown as her own little individual and as her mom. I credit a lot to her early experiences with Woodlawn.

Brittany J.

2019

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Impact Stories

The financial assistance program has helped us tremendously

The financial assistance program has helped us tremendously. We were able to enroll both of our daughters in the preschool programs when they were younger. They both learned so much. Now we are back trying again so our daughter Emelia can learn ballet. It has been her dream for a while and receiving financial assistance would allow us to be able to afford this activity for her.

Brad & Analiese W.

2019

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Impact Stories

Dancing has helped her grown in so many ways

My daughter has benefited from the financial assistance program so much. Without it I would not be able to afford dance lessons for her. Dancing has helped her grow in so many ways and has taught her some self-discipline. She looks forward to dance class and is always practicing her dances. She has really come out of her shell since starting dance at Woodlawn two years ago! Thank you so much for the ability to let my daughter do something she loves!

Breanna L.

2019

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Impact Stories

Allows them to do the things that they love

My family has benefited from this program because it allows them to do the things that they love. They both love the preschool program and my daughter loves dance. Without this program they wouldn’t be able to attend. We greatly appreciate being able to attend Woodlawn.

Cassandra S.

2019

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Impact Stories

The Academy [has] become vital for Jessica, her creativity, and personal happiness

Jessica is a senior dance student at Woodlawn Dance Academy and has been dancing with the academy for the last three years. Jessica’s mother, Shelley, has expressed gratitude for the scholarship provided by Woodlawn Arts Academy and the United Way, which has allowed her daughter to dance. Shelley has voiced that without dance and the Woodlawn Dance Academy, Jessica would be lost. Jessica struggles with bipolar disorder and depression. Dance and the Academy have become vital for Jessica, her creativity, and personal happiness. Shelley has said without the scholarship, being a member of the Woodlawn Dance Academy would not be possible. Both Jessica and Shelley are very grateful for the opportunities provided by their scholarship and the stability it has brought to Jessica’s life.

2012

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Impact Stories

Able to overcome her shyness

Susie (name changed to protect privacy) is a very quiet eight year old who receives scholarship funding from Woodlawn Arts Academy. Susie started taking piano lessons about a year ago; in first meeting her teacher, Susie was extremely quiet and shy. Her shyness not only occurred in her piano lessons but encompassed her school and social life. As Susie started to learn the basics of piano while spending time with her teacher, she started slowly opening up and displaying her stunning personality. A year later, Susie is now not only speaking to her teacher but socializing in her classroom and with schoolmates and friends. Her parents credit this to Susie’s piano lessons, her desire to learn music, and her teacher. Without the financial assistance for scholarship to Woodlawn Arts Academy provided by the United Way of Whiteside County, Susie may not have been
able to overcome her shyness and begin to associate with her instructors, teachers, friends and classmates.

2013

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Impact Stories

Able to reach over 60 different advanced art students

Thanks to the collaboration with United Way and a private Foundation, Woodlawn Arts Academy was able to start an A.R.T.S. Scholarship Program. This program is by teacher recommendation only and is offered to 3rd through 8th graders at Unit 5 and Rock Falls Schools. We have been able to reach over 60 different advanced art students over the course of the past three years; exposing these students to different mediums and visual art techniques not available at the schools because of budget restraints. These students have had their artwork displayed in professional exhibits and have won regional awards; making them more prepared for high school level work. Many of these students have expressed an interest in pursuing art for their future studies.

2013

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Impact Stories

Has channeled his emotions through music and the drums

Justin (name changed to protect privacy) is a teenage boy who is currently taking drum lessons with Ramiro Martinez. Justin, unfortunately lost his father, and needed an emotional outlet. His grandmother had learned about Woodlawn Arts Academy and our music lessons through the community and thought that drum lessons would be beneficial to Justin. Justin enjoys taking lessons and has channeled his emotions through music and the drums. Without the scholarship provided by the United Way of Whiteside County, Justin’s grandmother would not have been able to enroll him into private music lessons.

2013

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