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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Engaging Creative Minds

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services

Mission: The mission of Engaging Creative Minds is to inspire the creative and innovative potential of all students to achieve academically and become imaginative, adaptable, and productive adults resulting in stronger communities and an increasingly competitive South Carolina workforce.

Target demographics: bring school curriculum to life inside the classroom

Direct beneficiaries per year: 5300 students

Geographic areas served: Berkeley, Charleston, Clarendon and Dorchester counties (South Carolina)

Programs: arts integration, engaged learning experiences, teacher professional development

Community Stories

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I was a participant in workshop session on summer programs. Very prepared, enthusiastic, and shared information that is immediately applicable! I went home and the incorporated their ideas the next week. Excellent presenters and information!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

WOW! I can not say enough good things about ECM! My children's entertainment company "Once Upon A Party" has been contracted to provide characters for the arts infusion at Burns Elementary each week. Out of the hundreds of events we've done, I can honestly say it's been my favorite. The passion in all of the staff comes through so clearly as their pour themselves into these kids from this title 1 school. Bright smiles, positive attitudes, hugs, and most importantly love is evident each time bright an early at 6:30 am. The staff knows the names of the children and has a personal interest in seeing these children thrive and succeed. Lego stations, music, jump roping, art projects, and interactive characters await the children on their way to school and you can taste their excitement as they RUN off the bus on Wednesday morning to engage with ECM. One morning I was dressed as Supergirl and had a bucket of phrases printed of how children could be a hero that day. One child drew "Don't give up even when it's hard." He looked at me, nodded his head and said, "That's exactly what I needed today." Another child told me that she wanted to be a teacher and would implement her "hero phrase" that day by treating others the way she would want to be treated and by standing up for what was right. I am truly HONORED to be a part of something so wonderful and hope to do more with ECM in the future.

-Irene Rose
Owner of Once Upon A Party
www.Facebook.com/Onceuponapartymagic

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Engaging Creative Minds has an amazing mission. The board put together a stellar program: smart in their funding, value of teaching artists and curriculum. For the past two summers I've looked forward to the camp planning session where theatre, music, technology & dance teaching artists are presented vocabulary and concepts. We share ideas, map out the week, and best of all get to be around the counselors who are fresh out of college ready to begin their teaching careers. When the week arrives camp is nonstop. We work hard, stay focused, and use our art form to make learning fun! We get to know the kids in a fun, exciting atmosphere. I am happy to teach dance, interpersonal skills and inspiration at STEAM Institute, and I am thrilled the Engaging Creative Minds community cares enough about the youth and arts to provide this program.

Addy Gantt, MA, DTR

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Engaging Creative Minds is changing the lives of faculty, staff, and students at Burns Elementary in North Charleston, South Carolina.

Each Wednesday morning ECM greets our students and families...and by greet our families I mean GREET our families! All parents and bus drivers are served piping hot coffee and gourmet doughnuts as they drop off students at school.

Students are treated to stilt walkers, face painting, African drummers and dancers, bubble machines, cheerleaders, uplifting music and so much more! The main point is that the students are treated!

Burns Elementary is an impoverished and under performing school with attendance and tardiness concerns. This partnership with ECM has increased on time arrival for school on Wednesday...as well as increased car riders on Wednesday mornings! Our students look forward to each Wednesday as they bound out of the cars and off of the buses.
Many of our staff has stated that on Wednesday, behaviors are improved and office behavior referrals are decreased.

Oh, Engaging Creative Minds also feeds the staff each and every Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday afternoons, Engaging Creative Minds arrives just before dismissal and makes certain that every student has a hug or high five and pack of smarties to finish off the day.

Needless to say, Burns Elementary LOVES Engaging Creative Minds. We feel as if they should be called Engaging Creative Hearts and Minds!!!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

The work that Engaging Creative Minds does for our students in Charleston County has been a keystone in helping students gain motivation intrinsically because of the awesome experiences that ECM offers to the students in our district. My students have benefited from ECM by having the Charleston Stage Company come in the classroom and help students learn through acting tools. They have also provided students the opportunity to go to the opera and see Porgy and Bess as well as allowing more arts integration into the curriculum by having students create mosaics with artist, Meryl Weber. I have also had the pleasure of being a part of ECM's Summer STEAM Institute which enriches the lives of students from various backgrounds by keeping their minds stimulated and getting them excited about learning going into their next academic year. The resources and experiences that ECM provides helps teachers (like myself) become better teachers.
-Archie S. Temoney, Jr.
8th Grade S.C. History Teacher
C.E. Williams Middle School for Creative and Scientific Arts
Charleston County School District

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I just want to say a big thank you on behalf of the Steel Drum and Percussion students at Stall High School for supporting us through your grant money. Also, what a great surprise by showing up with a news crew! The students and faculty at Stall have all talked about your generosity non-stop since then. You all definitely caught us off guard!

Thanks again for the support. The students and I greatly appreciate what you all do!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Engaging Creative Minds totally looks at combining the whole experience of the arts and academics, and uses it to create a well rounded lifelong learner. The program does an excellent job of providing opportunities to both learners and educators. This is the way all educational experiences should be.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I enrolled my grandson in one week of STEAM camp this summer. He was very hesitant to go - we actually had to make him go the first day. By Wednesday he was asking if he could do another week. He is on week 3 now and says he wishes "he could go to school at STEAM all year long!" He loves it so much, he talked his step-sister into going, also. This is an awesome program. Every child should have this opportunity.

Review from Guidestar

1 SandyBurris

Client Served

Rating: 5

The folks at Engaging Creative Minds worked small miracles to make Porgy and Bess happen for my students! To say that they enjoyed the show would be an understatement. My students were enthralled, and it was amazing to hear them talk about the performance in significant detail both among themselves and to adults. This experience has definitely piqued an interest in the arts for my students. The opportunity to expose my kids to new places and ideas is just priceless, and to have Porgy and Bess in my back pocket as a teaching tool will impact students for years to come. I simply do not have the words to express my gratitude to the good people at Engaging Creative Minds and Ravinia, as well as their cadre of volunteers and donors. Seeing this opera at Spoleto was an experience that neither my students nor I will soon forget.
Sandy Simpson Burris

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ECM - should also stand for encouraging creative minds! As an artist for Engaging Creative Minds, I find that working with their coaches and the teachers, that I am able to help share and encourage learning using creativity in all forms of digital and print. The outcomes vary from short movies, to dvd's with color prints, to printed newspapers and then portraits with a student modeling their dreams for the future and what it takes to get there! Throughout the entire learning process, the students are encouraged to use their imagination and to create images in their minds and then to write! In other projects, we help the students to become good observers and reporters, they then write and see their works published. Yes, the outcome shows academic success, but often I see other important elements such as the students finding their self within their work, they gain self esteem and confidence. And, just think using the creative process. So when one thinks of the positive outcomes of a creative experience with ECM, I also suggest that we should look at the benefit to the whole student!

Review from Guidestar

1 Theodore M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Exposure to the breadth of creative inspiration which ECM has povided to me as a teacher, has been immensely helpful with The HERO Project. As a visual artist they helped me fine tune my goal and engage students in thought and consideration of the character and life choices of "heroes". I needed to better understand how to present this material to young minds as well as how it related to core curriculum. The professionals at ECM have taught and encouraged me as they opened school doors to experience sculpture. These experiences have ignited creative sparks in Tri- county students everywhere, be it 3D design and construction, history or focused language arts. The programs from ECM are piquing curiosity and delighting students.
I am forever thankful for the honor of working with ECM.

Review from Guidestar

1 Gina73

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked as a Teaching Artist on the SC Arts Commission Roster for decades. Over the last year, I've had an opportunity to get to know the work done at ECM. They do Arts Integration right! Every person in this organization goes above and beyond with a clear interest in enriching the lives and education of our children. Great people! Excellent program!

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have to say a HUGE thank you to Engaging Creative Minds for partnering with Chas Stage Company to do an incredible residency at my children's school, Ashley River Creative Arts Elem. I have triplets in 3rd grade and each one of them is STILL talking about the amazing and FUN experience they had three weeks ago! They learned SO much about the Civil War and all three girls got 100's on their tests after their time with ECM. But more important than the grade, the girls understood the material bc it was presented in such a unique way. They went into the test with confidence using all they learned. I have heard other parents say the same! We are so grateful!
I wish ECM and Chas Stage were there for EVERY social studies unit! (;
Thank you to some very special people for making this program a grand success!
The Farr Family

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have attend 3 workshops/professional development opportunities sponsored by ECM over the last year and half. All three of the workshops I found to be of great benefit to my teaching and have given me lots of ideas that I now use in my classroom with my students. I am looking forward to working with ECM in March when they will provided an artist in residence to help my students learn volume and surface area with sculptures.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've been working with Engaging Creative Minds (ECM) for the past couple of years - as an artist and as a summer program and special events partner. I can say with confidence that without ECM the students they work with in the Lowcountry would not have the enrichment and exposure to the arts that they now have. It would be very difficult to get my program into the schools during the school day without our partnership with ECM. Great group of folks doing great work for the students in the Lowcountry.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work for the school district where Engaging Creative Minds began, and I can wholeheartedly say that it is one of the best arts-infusion programs I have ever seen in education. The model provides gainful and meaningful employment for local artists while bringing curricula to life for our students. The program administrators run an organized ship and every dollar is used wisely.

Review from Guidestar

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Engaging Creative Minds has become an integrated part of the experiences for the learners of
C.E. Williams Middle School for Creative Arts. Our learners engage the curriculum through the arts with artists which is exciting and solidifies learning. In addition, our teachers are able to see and learn new and creative ways to present content.
We are glad to be an ECM school!

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Engaging Creative Minds provides outstanding learning experiences for both students and teachers. As a teacher, I have learned how to make glass mosaics, dance the Charleston, dye fabric, and write songs that can be integrated into the curriculum I teach. The students and I learn side-by-side, What a unique and memorable experience.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

During the summer of 2015, the students in Rural Clarendon School District One were blessed with the opportunity to partner with ECM. The experiences were awesome. Learning came alive and meaningful through the powerful integration of the arts in core content. The students and adults are looking forward to the partnership for summer of 2016.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Engaging Creative Minds is a true asset to the community of the Charleston region. ECM has decreased summer learning loss and has provided students with the love of learning. Moreover, it has also given non-arts teachers the skills to integrate the arts as a vital part of the school curriculum. In addition to the local school system they have partnered successfully with a number of organizations creating a bond between education and community. ECM is an excellent organization that has just began to make their mark, while spreading the message that the arts are important.

Review from Guidestar