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Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014

Heroes of the Week: Tessa’s Black Entertainment and Youth Center Volunteers

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Contessa Cole started developing what would become Tessa’s Black Entertainment and Youth Center (TBEY) when she was 16 years old, prompted by the dance and arts programs she loved being cut from Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). She turned her idea into a nonprofit that now offers youth ages 6-19 opportunities to learn about and explore visual arts, music, theater and dance in a safe and fun environment. Available are afterschool and summer arts education programs, mentorships and free afterschool homework tutoring. Since the organization’s start in the early 2000s, numerous community artists have volunteered their time each year to teach classes. One of TBEY’s larger projects is its annual dance concert, “A Journey Through Dance.” The program involves a three-month intensive summer class where participants learn a variety of dance genres and perform what they have learned at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

“Arts education for youth is very much needed and our strongest commitment of community is our volunteers,” says Cole, executive director. “We’ve worked with many kids throughout Milwaukee—some of these students are now in college. We really want everyone to know we’re here and that we have so much to offer.”

TBEY (2266 N. Prospect, Suite 325B) is currently seeking volunteers to help with recruitment efforts and fundraising, as well as anyone interested in working on this year’s “A Journey Through Dance” production. Internships are also available. In addition, donations of costumes, art supplies and computers are needed. For more information, contact Cole at 414-562-8239 or visit tbey.org.

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