Dear Community,

We have exciting news! We have selected our inaugural class of Creole Garsons and their mentors. And guess what? We have exceeded our goal of 10 garsons and now have 11! Wow! This summer, we hosted two virtual meetings with the boys where they were introduced to most of the mentors. During these meetings their mentors shared a little about themselves and their art disciplines. This year, we have 7 talented and wonderful professionals that are joining us as mentors. These individuals include a journalist, photographer, videographer, visual artist, music producer, creative designer, and dancer/youth mentor specialist!

This Saturday we will have our in person retreat from 10am – 3pm. At the retreat each of the mentors will present an interactive lesson in their area of expertise. The participants will then choose two disciplines to complete an apprenticeship under their mentors for the following months. From September to November, the garsons will meet with mentors 1 – 2x each month. We also plan to complete community service hours and a whole group arts-based field trip.

Our total budget was $3300. Our funds are from 24 Hour Citizen Project ($2500) and The Creole Nutcracker. With these funds we will pay our mentors as they are also operating as teaching artists and must be compensated for their sessions at the retreat as well as the monthly meet ups with their mentees. We are also supplying our garsons with t-shirts. We have recently expanded our budget to $4000 as we had more edits than anticipated for our logo and also have to account for the additional young man joining our program! Our current budget covers costumes for any garsons who may choose dance as their discipline. Their apprenticeship will consist of attending rehearsals and performing as a cast member of The 5th Anniversary Creole Nutcracker. We are also covering field trip expenses for our whole group trip to Studio Be in New Orleans. We hope to still come in under budget by the end of the program. We will work to be much closer to our original budget. Thankfully, Kelsey Sanders of Eat, Fuel, Fleurish has agreed to sponsor lunch for all of our mentors and mentees for our retreat. One of our goals is to convince more community leaders and business owners along the way to contribute their resources to our program and help us pour into the leaders of our future.

In the coming months, our goal is to document the boys’ experience, so that we can share these moments with you all! We also need confirmation from Studio Be for our requested dates. We truly believe in the power of exposure to the arts. We know when a child believes and knows who they are they can boldly go into the world ready and prepared. The arts have the power to do that and so much more.

Thanks for all of your support! Team Creole Garsons