“All children and youth deserve the opportunity to participate in quality arts educational opportunities.”
– Whitley Green
A native of Dallas, Whitley just moved to New York in August to attend New York University, where she is a first-year graduate student of the Dance Education Pre-K-12 certification program. She became a Sing for Hope Artist Partner in November after receiving an email from her school encouraging their students to get involved in Sing for Hope’s many programs. An avid volunteer back in Texas, she felt it was just the thing that was missing in her life since her move to New York.
“It is my hope that by sharing and serving through my art, I can improve community cohesiveness, and encourage youth to fervently pursue their dreams.”
Whitley has already shared her boundless energy with students in Sing for Hope programs from lower Manhattan to the top of the Bronx. Her biggest inspiration for her art, she says, are the students themselves. She takes her creativity from the energy in the room, often focusing on improv dance movement, or working with the group to create a collective dance piece.
One of Whitley’s favorite moments sharing her art in Sing for Hope programs was her special visit to students at New York City Children’s Center, a facility in the Bronx that provides an array of behavioral health services to students at 5-18. There, Whitley lead an interactive dance improv activity where the students chose a card with a word on it and she would incorporate it in her dance, giving the students a sense of being part of the creative process. After her visit, NYCCC staffer Grace said, “The children have never seen anybody move, anybody dance like that. It really helps them heal.”
Whitley also helped kick off our Sing for Hope Arts Week — a free, four-day arts program that provides high school students the opportunity to immerse themselves in different art forms through workshops led by artists on our roster. She set the tone for the week with her energetic warm ups and really got the group moving. While her workshop focused on her original hip hop choreography, perhaps her most important move is her big smile! Whitley sported her infectious smile for the entire workshop, encouraging students to do the same. Many of the students who were shy at the start left Whitley’s workshop feeling confident and surprised in their rhythmic abilities.
Whitley’s advice to other artists wanting to get involved with Sing for Hope — “Just do it! Like Nike! Seriously, it’s a rewarding experience for both you as an artist and for the people you have the opportunity to serve. It’s truly a gift to share your gift with others.”