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The Alliance For Young Artists & Writers Receives Grant From The New York Life Foundation to Support Grieving Teens

NEW YORK, NY – Nearly one in 20 children in the U.S. will lose a parent before the age of 16* – and, now more than ever, there is a critical need for resources to support childhood grief. The New York Life Foundation, which is dedicated to childhood bereavement awareness, is partnering with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support students with exceptional artistic and literary talent, to help creative teens express their grief through the healing power of the arts.

Visit http://artandwriting.org/newyorklife for more information.

This new partnership will provide creative services and support for bereaved teens in grades 7 through 12 – a time when access to special programs that foster healthy social and emotional development is critical. Thanks to the grant funded by the New York Life Foundation, The Alliance will host workshops around the country that serve as a “safe space” for grieving teen artists and writers that address sensitive topics around death and the aftermath of personal loss. The program also aims to inform the larger community of parents, guardians and educators about how vital the role of the arts is in assisting childhood bereavement.

The new partnership includes:

  • Scholarships: As part of the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, students will have the opportunity to enter their work for “The New York Life Foundation Award.” Six $1,000 scholarships will be presented to students whose work exemplifies how the arts can act as a positive outlet to cope with several kinds of loss, such as the death of a loved one or the displacement of a caregiver, and whose work raises public awareness of the issue of youth bereavement.
  • Free Workshops: Teens across the U.S. will gain access to free bereavement-focused art and writing workshops conducted by specially-trained educators. Through training in a range of artistic media, including drawing and poetry, teens will connect with a network of fellow artists and writers who have experienced similar life experiences.  For a list of upcoming workshops visit: http://www.artandwriting.org/summer-workshops/


Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers:

“When teens receive positive recognition for their creative work it unleashes a transformative power unlike anything else. The Scholastic Awards has seen this firsthand for nearly a century. The arts also create a community in which teens can explore what they feel in a safe, life-affirming manner when grappling with topics that are sometimes considered taboo, such as trauma or loss. We feel confident that New York Life Foundation’s knowledge of and commitment to the resiliency of our youth, combined with the Alliance’s extensive outreach to teens in all 50 states, can honor the bravery of students who turn to the arts to heal from personal loss.”

Maria Collins, Vice President, New York Life Foundation:

“We are proud to partner with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to provide students with an opportunity to gain recognition for the creative expression of their deepest emotions. We believe that the Awards and workshops that our grant supports will not only help raise awareness about the issue of childhood bereavement, but will change the grief conversation into one that focuses on inspiration, empowerment and resiliency.” 


(*) Schonfeld D, Quackenbush M: The Grieving Student: A Teacher’s Guide. Baltimore, MD, Brookes Publishing, 2010.


About the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, founded in 1923, recognizes and celebrates the most creative teens in America. The Scholastic Awards received nearly 320,000 submissions in 29 categories of art and writing from 7th–12th graders nationwide last year, and distributes approximately $300,000 in direct scholarships annually. The Scholastic Awards are administered by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To learn more, please visit artandwriting.org.

About the New York Life Foundation

Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided $220 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports pro­grams that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of edu­cational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Founda­tion also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program. To learn more and for bereavement resources, please visit newyorklifefoundation.org.

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