By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer
A local artist is preparing seven short films showcasing what community members feel is important to highlight to Republican National Convention delegates visiting Cleveland. Organized by Spaces, a nonprofit gallery, and created by artist Kate Sopko and a team of collaborators, the first in the series focuses on Tanese Horton, site coordinator at Harvey Rice Wraparound School.
Harvey Rice School, a pre-K-8 Cleveland Metropolitan School District elementary school in Buckeye, is one of 25 schools participating in United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Wraparound initiative.
Wraparound works to address the challenges connected with poverty that can impact a student’s academic success by placing a coordinator in each school to provide students and families with the resources they need, including access to food, medical and mental health services and weather-appropriate clothing.
As its site coordinator, Horton works to assess and resolve problems that children living in poverty face that can affect their academic performance. Handling everything on a case-by-case basis, Horton intervenes to help connect students and families with community, medical and social services.
“It mobilizes the resources that you currently have and that you could potentially obtain in order to address those needs,” Horton said in the video.
Due to its proximity, Harvey Rice partners with the Cleveland Public Library branch of the same name, which also helps identify students whose behavior indicates outside problems Horton and other community partners can potentially help with.
Investing money, time and manpower into the initiative, the Harvey Rice campus was refurbished, now including The Boys & Girls Club and Neighborhood Progress, Inc., allowing these programs to better serve the students and community.
“Day in and day out, it’s hard to step back and see the vision of ‘Oh, this is really massive,’” she said. “And it really is kind of making a change and a difference in this world and in this community.”
Other films in the series will be released leading up to the RNC, with various screenings and dialogues being held throughout the city. The film on Horton debuted at Spaces Friday, May 20 alongside several other political films and artworks.