“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” - James Dean
We at The Kyle Jean-Baptiste Foundation Inc. know that the Arts are a necessary part of learning and cognition. Research has shown that it is linked to higher academic achievement, as well as social and emotional development. Involvement in The Arts promotes civic engagement, equitable opportunities, and personal motivation. It opens our minds to a world of diversity, as it did for Kyle, as he lived his story.
Kyle was fortunate to have teachers and family who encouraged his involvement in activities, in and out of school; such as art, writing, dance, karate, theater, and instrument. The teachers enriched the learning of the students by introducing well-rounded cross curricula. A heartfelt thank you to them and the many teachers who continue to positively enrich the lives of our children in classroom.
Ms. MacDonald (laughter), Mrs. Scalise (discipline and love of writing), Mrs. Cirone (music, being creative), Mrs. Kelly (creativity, writing, love), Dr. Kenwood (social graces), Mr. Rizzotti (hard work, fun), Mrs. Giraud (love), Mr. Cohen (intelligence is cool), and Mr. Sirbirsky (music). They all helped to raise Kyle. As educators, they have all been instrumental in Kyle becoming who he was as a human being. These teachers taught him about love, discipline, laughter and gave him a love of The Arts. Kyle took something from each of them, and each child that they continue to interact will do the same.
Through his outside extra-curricula activities, Kyle became acquainted with and befriended a diverse community of individuals who taught him not only a skill, but what it means to be a kind and giving human being. This was necessary as part of his growth into the beautifully imperfect person that he became.
Kyle was a funny, happy, loving and kind child; he grew to be a funny, happy, loving and kind young man and he continues to inspire us spiritually with his love, energy and verve for life.
Many young people in our communities have never gone to the theatre, picked up an instrument, taken a dance class, created or designed a work of art, written a story, or listened to any genre of music outside of their peer culture.
Yet, if we were to google “Arts Programs” right now, thousands of results would pop-up. Why can our young people not access the Arts? Why do some schools still not offer Arts enriched curricula?
The list of reasons may be long, so let us not judge. Instead, let us close the gap. Let us help our youth grow as open-minded, learned, contributing citizens of the world. Let us find ways to connect quality Arts programs with youth, families and communities effectively.
The Arts connect us. Let us level the playing field for youth that are financially disadvantaged or unable to connect to the many programs available. Our youth are our future. Be a part of the change and make a difference starting now.
To all those who work daily to make a difference through the use of the Arts and in other ways; as well as the many that go unrecognized; thank you for all that you do.
Sonia Jean-Baptiste, Ph.D