Support Our New Education Initiative

by Rima Dael, CDSS Executive Director

Family Dance in Amherst, MA; photo by Rima Dael

Today marks the launch of our participation in the upcoming Valley Gives Day on 12.12.12, an e-philanthropy event to encourage residents in Western MA, and their friends outside the area, to contribute to their favorite nonprofit organizations. You can schedule a donation to CDSS today or any time before 12.12.12 (or on the day itself). Go to, and click on “schedule one for Valley Gives” under Make a Donation.

By scheduling your gift to CDSS as part of Valley Gives Day, you may increase our overall fundraising on 12.12.12. Grants from Western MA funders will be awarded to organizations who raise the most money and to those who receive the most donations on that day, and, with the generosity of local funders, randomly-selected organizations will receive grants.

What are we asking you to help support? Arts-in-Education!!

Americans for the Arts reports that instruction time for the arts is decreasing across the nation since the implementation of No Child Left Behind. Meanwhile, the benefits of arts learning are well-documented and positive.

The CDSS Education Department is responding by envisioning the creation of online courses and toolkits for the busy public school teacher using participatory dance, music and song with roots in English and North American traditions. Our goal is to give classroom teachers the basic skills to easily incorporate these traditional arts into the contemporary classroom.

CDSS’s participation in Valley Gives and your support will fund and jumpstart this project.

Participatory art “teaches children life skills such as learning to solve problems and make decisions, building self-confidence and self-discipline, developing the ability to imagine what might be, and accepting responsibility to complete tasks from start to finish.” (Americans for the Arts, 2002) We agree!

Please help CDSS with a gift of support. By scheduling a gift now for Valley Gives Day on 12.12.12, we are leveraging that gift to attract more funding from the Western MA funders.

We’ll be showing off a bit occasionally for the next two weeks, so stayed tuned to our blog and Facebook. May Valley Gives Day become a new tradition to strengthen our year-end gifts!