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Musings | Nov 19, 2021

“Usdan has inspired me to follow my heart and do what I think is best”

Summer arts camp on long island

Dear Usdan Community, 

A funny thing happened to me a few weeks ago, on Halloween. Each time the doorbell rang, I ran to see the children. This sprint reminded me of my summer sprints at Usdan, whether to the Green Sign, to greet a daily parade of arriving students, or to one studio after another, to witness children taking risks as they pushed their boundaries of creativity and expression.

Each week, I recorded the voices of dozens of students reflecting on how Usdan inspires them to creatively contribute to the world, an aspiration central to Usdan’s mission.

Throughout this school-year, you will be treated to some of these audio recordings. Today, enjoy hearing Mikayla, Max and Sarah, who each express how the people of Usdan have inspired them to be exactly who they are. Mikayla shares that Usdan has “inspired me to follow my heart and do what I think is best.” Max explains “Usdan gives people motivation and help to express their creativity to the world and this is what helps me express my creativity to the world.” Sarah highlights that at Usdan, “I really have the opportunity to be unique and my own person.” Mikayla is 11, Max 12 and Sarah 13 years old. 

If each of these young people has this awareness of themselves at these ages, then I believe this community of friends and faculty must be doing a great job. This month, I challenge each of us to aim to replicate the supportive environment of Usdan in our homes and in our community to allow all children the opportunity to be who they uniquely are, not just in summer and not just on Usdan’s campus, but all year long.

Enjoy listening, 

Lauren Brandt Schloss, Executive Director