Healthy Culpeper’s After School Arts Program wrapped up its spring semester last week with the annual showcase, giving the approximately 40 students involved a chance to show parents what they’ve accomplished during the program.
A group of five students played guitar from Alan Rasmussen’s guitar class – starting out with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and moving onto the rock classic “Wild Thing.”
Rasmussen, Prevention Specialist with Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services, said the After School Arts program is one that he personally enjoys, being able to teach students a lifelong resource like playing guitar.
“This program was put together to bring young people together so they could enjoy one another’s company and be in a positive environment and be around adults who cared about them,” Rasmussen said. “I believe it truly teaches them to enjoy, relax and relate and have a good time. It’s an invaluable program for creating that type of atmosphere.”
Started in 2005 by Healthy Culpeper, the Teen Coalition has been running the program for the past few years with financial support from the Rusty Bowers Suicide Coalition and Team Jordan.
“It’s amazing,” Healthy Culpeper program manager Denise Walker said. “It is very special for the students. There are a number of them that start the program in middle school and carry through high school. We make it like family for them.”
The program offers individualized attention for the students from instructors in five different classes. This semester jewelry making, healthy snacks, guitar lessons, art and soul and Raspberry Pi computer classes were offered. Walker said each semester they take a survey of students to see what classes they want.
“We always make sure we have instructors who are very knowledgeable and are experienced in teaching students,” Walker said.