Walt Disney World Resort awarded a $12,000 grant to the Polk Museum of Art on March 4.
The money will be used for two youth-oriented programs in the Parker Street neighborhood.
The Parker Street Teen Program has about 12 participants who have created a business to design and sell clothing. This program incorporates the arts, entrepreneurship and life skills training, says Laura Putnam, outreach manager for the Polk Museum of Art.
Putnam works with teens to design, plan, develop and market a silk-screened clothing line. Profits from the T-shirt sales are split, with one half going to a local charity of the teens' choosing and the other being spent as a class. This unique aspect flips participants from being recipients of charity to being community benefactors, she says.
“The teens are doing everything from the ground up, which includes creating a business plan,” Putnam says. “Giving back to a local charity promotes civic engagement, and the role reversal from recipients of charity to community benefactors is a key component to the project.”
The Disney grant will help cover supplies, production and administrative costs for the program’s third year, which begins in October. Putnam also will use the funds to purchase iPads so participants will have access to design apps that will be useful in designing more clothing.
The remainder of the grant funds will be used in the Parker Street After School Program, which provides an outlet for about 80 children to express themselves creatively and safely.