This Entertainment Management Student Is Giving Children a Voice through Art
Tita Antonopoulos is a student in the Entertainment Management program at Bay State College, so it's no surprise that she supports the arts. In recent years, however, she has a new reason to appreciate them: her son, Christos.
Tita's son has childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), a disorder that affects his ability to speak.
"He just started talking eight months ago, and he's six years old," said Tita. "A lot of kids, especially kids with special needs, cannot express themselves through language. But if you put them in front of blocks or Legos, they can build these amazing things. As a parent, you think, 'Okay, my kid gets it.'"
"Art is such great therapy for any child. Maybe they can't find the words to express themselves and they're frustrated and they just draw it on a picture and get it out, and then they're not acting out at school. Unfortunately, art is being taken away from many schools. I think it would be sad if children were to lose that."
These sentiments served as the inspiration for Tita's Senior Practicum group project: a children's creative arts workshop. The group of four used what they learned from their time in the Bay State College Entertainment Management program to plan the event, presenting their research and ideas to a panel of professors.
With zero dollars in budget, they had to be creative. Tita reached out to local organizations to find sponsorships, offering promotion during the event in return. This resulted in an impressive number of donations, including 20 cases of water, 12 cases of GoGo squeeZ yogurt, Fig Newtons, crackers, popcorn, gift cards to the Dollar Store for buying event supplies, and event services from yoga and dance instructors.
To promote the event, the group reached out to kindergartens and preschools in a thirty-mile radius, including Little Sprouts Corporate. They distributed flyers through social media, parenting websites, local parent magazines and local businesses.
The result was a resounding success. Tita and her group had over thirty attendees at the Children's Creative Arts Workshop, despite a local marathon coinciding with the event. The free event was held in the Second Floor Lobby of 31 Saint James Avenue, and featured a yoga instructor, dance instructor, photo booth, and arts and crafts tables including stations with Play-Doh, painting, blocks, and wintertime construction paper activities.
"My son loved it. He ran right to the yoga mats and was all excited to take his shoes off. He went through all the stations and had so much fun," said Tita.
"We thought this would be a great thing for families to come out for, and it was. It gave parents an opportunity to spend time with their kids, and do something fun with them without being attached to their phones. You can just shut everything off and have fun, get on the floor, take your socks off."
Despite starting with zero dollars, Tita and her group ended up positive $30. They donated the profits to Zumix, a local nonprofit organization that empowers youth to use music to make strong positive change in their lives, their communities and their world.
Tita now uses some of the skills she learned from this project at her current internship, and plans to use them in her future career.
"Bay State College made me realize that event planning is what I want to do. I like the pressure, being organized, and thinking on my feet. I've always liked it, but Bay State taught me how to be better at it and more purposeful."
Interested in Entertainment Management? Learn more about Bay State College's unique Management program with a concentration in Music Industry here.
Interested in Service Learning? Read about all of the recent service learning initiatives from Bay State College students here!