April 18, 2009

Leadership Racine Brings Art to HALO

By Marie Block

On Saturday afternoon, children and adults celebrated the newly formed Racine Inner City Art House at HALO. The arts and culture committee of Leadership Racine's 2009 class had a vision to "give kids something to say 'yes' to," as Raquel Freeman, a member of Leadership Racine, stated. Their goal is to have HALO host a children's art center for residents and the surrounding community. The center will expose children to visual and performing arts that are not a part of most school curriculum, including dance and martial arts, to instill confidence and creativity in all children.

The day's festivities began with Victor NiƱo, an instructor at the Racine Athletic Club, along with Heather Sampson, leading both children and adults in Zumba, a combination of Latin and Reggaeton dances with a focus on fitness and fun. The group then went into HALO's "The Room to Grow." Children's hands were colored with bright paints and placed onto a tree painted by Chris Stretenovich and Becky Mantenfel. Stephanie Kober, HALO's Family Program Manager, wrote the children's names next to their handprints... handprints of future artists.


  1. You guys ROCK! Art is incredibly important to everybody no matter what the circumstance. It feeds the soul! and gives the heart something to smile about.

  2. It's nice to see this project take shape. The creative arts are vitally important to our health and well being. Whether we are young or old, homeless or not, city or suburban -- or whatever -- the arts help us express what we can often not say it words. Any act of creation -- visual art, video art, singing, dancing and the like -- help us feel more powerful in a healthy and constructive way.

  3. Why not teach these youngsters valuable skills like math, reading, writing, etc so they don't become parasites on society like their parents? Dancing won't get you far in life.

  4. children are the future4/19/2009 5:44 PM

    Teaching them the importance of self esteem and confidence is even better. They get math, reading, etc in school. To the person who stated the their parents are parasites---i hope you don't live paycheck to paycheck--because it could be you in HALO. Reality check!!

  5. Maybe they better focus on the math and reading so they don't find themselves at HALO. Spending your days dancing instead of studying will guarantee yourself a one-way ticket to HALO.

    No, I don't live paycheck to paycheck, but I am tired of my paychecks going to HALO and supporting people like those who live there. Myself and many others are tired of going to work each day only to pay for others to dance all day instead of working.

  6. Hi Mr/Ms. Anonymous:

    Your comments just make me laugh...I am really sorry you think like that.

    It seems that it will be very difficult to explain to you the benefits of programs like HALO, I will not even bother to do it.

    Perhaps you should read the article better, look at the big picture, and acknowledge the work of the volunteers.

    If you are strongly opposed to programs like HALO, and there are "many others" that agree with you, you should be a community leader, and propose this change to our government. We have a democracy, and we will listen.

    But, I am sure that is too much work for you, so it will be easier to complain in the internet and offend people.


  7. I for one applaud HALO for providing such wonderful activites for not only those who live at HALO, but for this community.

    Individuals like Anonymous who sit back and make negative commnets about an agency who is trying to break a cycle that seems to be spreading in Racine make me sick.
    I ask you..Anonymous ,
    Have you ever walked in the doors of HALO? People have a visual that all of the people "living" in HALO are lazy and do nothing type of people.
    Let me tell you the Family Support staff (Family Case Manager especially) is making sure these people are making life changing decisions. They(the residents) are required to do so many things to be able to stay at HALO it would make some cowards who can only blog negativity think twice.

    I for one, support HALO and am happy to see this taking off in Racine. Great pictures too!