Stories from our clients

Alicia’s story

I found out about A.R.T.S. classes from my counselor at PHD. I had complications delivering Thomas, and weeks after, I developed major postpartum depression. I could not go back to work full-time, and I lost my insurance. A.R.T.S. classes helped me as I coped and recovered from PPD.

When we started A.R.T.S., Thomas just listened and observed. He used to hide behind me. Slowly, he started surprising me with how much longer he could sit and listen at a time. He progressed from crawling to dancing and from listening to participating.

Crayons, stickers, glue, paints, markers, glitter, feathers..were all introduced to him right here! Our work and art experiments are proudly displayed on the kitchen wall. I see him developing small motor skills and enjoying it.

In A.R.T.S., we have many kids his age. They need to take turns with instruments and share. We are still working on it and it is getting so much better. Ms. Kim’s cheering and other kids clapping make it worth it to share. I really feel he’s being prepared for a more formal school setting in a loving and caring way. And I’m so grateful for that.

We listen to our take home music CD’s almost everyday. At home, we try to dance and follow the instructions, and many times he remembers how it was done in class. I’m excited to see him make connections like that. In the car, he actually yells, “la, la, la,” to let me know he wants to listen to his CD. He has his preferences and just recently started singing along.

Thank you and your supporters for all that you do for Thomas and other kids participating in these wonderful A.R.T.S. classes! You are in our hearts.

– Alicia

Nadia’s story

“Hello! My name is Nadia and I have two children, Victoria and Nikko. I found out about A.R.T.S. from the program at PHD. We love to come here every Thursday! My girl learned English and to communicate better with other people. Nikko, my boy, is getting better with other kids, too!

I think A.R.T.S. is a good start for children (babies and toddlers, too) for getting ready for kindergarten and learning to interact with people. It is also a good way for mommies to spend time with other parents and become friends in the community. I love coming here and I think it is good for mothers from different backgrounds to support each other. My advice is for everyone to come at least once and see what it is like. They will love it and come back!”

– Nadia

Luz’s story

Meet Luz. Luz is a mother of a two year old child attending A.R.T.S. classes at Partners for Our Communities (POC). As a child, Luz has fond memories of her grandfather playing the violin for her family and she has never forgotten how his music taught her the inexpressible joys of music, a gift she now wants to give to her own family. After receiving a second-hand violin from The Music Room’s Gear Shift Program, Kim Stadler, the Executive Director of A.R.T.S., sat down to interview Luz about what music and arts classes mean to her. Luz received her violin a few days before Christmas.

Kim: Luz, what would you say is the biggest benefit that A.R.T.S. classes has had on your child?

Luz: My daughter is 2 years old. She has been getting therapy for almost one year because she cannot bend or climb upstairs or downstairs yet. We tried everything with the therapist. Everything, and nothing worked. We were working for hours trying to make her bend, and we couldn’t make her, she just collapsed.  But in your class, you showed her how to play and that is the only thing that worked to make her bend. One day, I sang to her the song we had in class, “Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down. On the count of 3 we jump up.” So we are doing that exercise to practice jumping up because she hadn’t learned how to jump up yet. She would always start crying before. I don’t know if it hurt her too much in her hip or what. That is why I brought my husband today. I told my husband, I want you to meet the person who gave us a miracle. So we have to play “Ring around the Rosie” everyday and she is getting much stronger. She has started climbing the stairs.

Also, ever since she started coming to A.R.T.S. classes, she has been singing “ABC, ABC”. She doesn’t talk, but she remembers your songs. We play the CD everyday in the car so we sing along with the songs. All my kids, they all sing together, so my daughter started singing some, too.

Kim: How did you hear about A.R.T.S. classes?

Luz: We have been trying to do everything to make my daughter talk and for her physical development, so our counselor (from EC/DEC-Early Childhood Developmental Enrichment Center) said this would be a good option. We had been having a lot of challenging things going on this year. Our counselor said this would really help me with my stress and will help my daughter to start talking some. She can say ten words now and before she wouldn’t even say one word. That means a lot to me. Music and art are very important.

Kim: Explain that a little more.

Luz: My family has always been involved in the arts.  My grandfather was a very famous musician back in Colombia. He played in a band. He also wrote a couple of compositions. Unfortunately, he was killed when I was 8 years old. I really remember him playing the violin and cello and watching and listening. He used to play us folk songs, and I especially remember him playing Christmas songs. My family has always had musicians and artists. My brother is a dancer. We come from the arts.

Kim: Do you think A.R.T.S. classes can benefit all families?

Luz: I come to the A.R.T.S. program with my neighbor downstairs, and her son isn’t talking because he is a little deaf. So I told her to come with me and see if the class will help her son talk. We share the CD’s and play and sing together and teach our kids sign language, too. We use the instruments you gave us in class, and he starts shaking and playing with it. We think he feels the vibrations and he is learning to sign about the music. We are doing some sign language at home because of our friend and my daughter, and now even my son is learning to sign. They are playing, but they are also learning to sign some of the songs you gave us. (Luz begins to sing the hello song, “ABC, Music and Me, Sing hello so quietly.”) The kids are learning to sign the songs and speak at the same time. There are many benefits to music.

Kim: Why did you want to play the violin?

Luz: For myself, I have always wanted to play the violin for the memory of my grandfather and it has always been my dream. I’ve started watching videos of violin concerts. My son was watching me watch the videos and said, “I want to play guitar mommy so we can play together and make a band.” I want to make good family memories.

Carmen’s story

“This class has been the most precious gift and reward every week for my 2 little girls since they were babies. They both grew up with this class learning skills and new songs, and also learning to share, take turns, and to cleanup the instruments and art materials they use in class. The first songs they learned were the ABC songs we sang every week in class. My girls insist we play the music CD‘s from the class with those same songs everywhere we drive and in our daily play. Thanks Miss Kim and Miss Laura for your patience and all you taught to my little girls. Thanks to everyone who makes this possible for my girls. We love A.R.T.S. class.”

—Carmen, Samantha, and Allyson

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