Barter Theatre's Project REAL received a Hope Award from Emory & Henry College's Appalachian Center for Civic Life in April.
Associate Director of the Appalachian Center for Civic Life Travis Proffitt said Project REAL was given the Hope Award award "because of your organization's commitment to service and the ways in which you live out the ideals of hope."
Kelly Bremner, associate professor of theater at Emory & Henry College, gave a speech during the award ceremony, stating that Project REAL's involvement in the region's school system has made a big difference for students.
Bremner said Project REAL has helped promote an increase in test scores for area students by helping students build self-awareness, classroom community, school culture and connection to academic subject matter.
"It is a groundbreaking educational outreach program for high school students to increase engagement and academic achievement among disadvantaged youth in our area schools," Bremner said.
Project REAL, standing for Reinforcing Education through Artistic Learning, places teaching artists in schools around the region to assist teachers in engaging their students with the curriculum and assist educators by teaching them to utilize theatre techniques and integrate the student's life experiences into the curriculum.
Project REAL uses theater-based activities to create a classroom environment that encourages differentiated learning, expression of ideas, and critical thinking while also connecting the material directly to the personal lives of our students. Project REAL provides an opportunity for all students to learn in a non-traditional, educational setting. By using specific theater techniques, the teaching artists are able to accommodate all learning styles at the same time. It also allows for the students to talk openly on any given issue in a safe environment. This program supports the teachers and reinforces what they are teaching in their classrooms.
Every year, through its Appalachian Center for Civic Life, Emory & Henry recognizes individuals and groups that have an exemplary record of service and civic commitment to working for the common good through The Hope Awards. A Hope Award for a Community Organization or Agency honors the work of that group which daily demonstrates a profoundly visionary commitment to justice and the common good, joining citizenship to service and the long processes of building healthy communities.