Holton Has a D.R.E.A.M.

By Corliss Pauling
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE

The Holton Career and Resource Center buzzes with activity in the evenings, but much of it is on the second floor rather than in the classrooms of the now well-known DPS programs. Durham Parks and Recreation’s D.R.E.A.M program is drawing teens in with its exciting lineup of activities.

Ciara Strong of Shepard Middle School concentrates on getting her moves right. (Staff photo by Corliss Pauling)

D.R.E.A.M. (Discipline, Roles, Entertainment, Art, and Media) teaches students the basics in fashion design, modeling, chorus, hip-hop and modern dance.

“The program was created to give students a way to express themselves in the arts and provide them with a safe environment,” said Keiara Russell, master program director who said the idea for D.R.E.A.M. came from her supervisor Aundrea White.

The classes which began in September are held during the week in the evenings.

“The D.R.E.A.M. program not only gets young children of the streets but gives them an outlet as well,” said Michael Brown Jr., master program specialist who has worked with Durham Parks and Recreation since 2005. “Having a program like this also benefits the parents.”

The instructors who come from various fields of art and entertainment play a vital role in developing the student’s ability to achieve in and outside of class.

“The teachers are not volunteers and are paid for their experience and knowledge in the areas that are taught,” said Brown.

Among the program’s offerings are video and music production lessons.

“Some of the students are learning how to make claymation movies,” said Brown.

The modeling class, which has 15 registered students, is the most popular right now.

“The modeling class is fun and gives me more time to hang out with my friends,” said Ciara Strong, a student at Shepard Middle School.

Even the parents, other students and people just visiting watch the models in training walk down the imaginary runway.

“It’s a fun experience and I get to see all the girls practice,” said George Broadie, one of the two boys registered for the class.

All of the D.R.E.A.M. classes that are offered through Durham Parks and Recreation are free to students except for the dance classes.

The fee for dance class ranges from $40 to $50. But students are able to apply for fee waivers that allow them to attend for free.

Right now the students are preparing for a show case that features all of the performing arts groups.

“We are hoping that the classes can pull together a show before the end of the school year,” said Brown.

Durham Parks and Recreation is doing its part by providing classes like chorus, modeling and dancing. They are hoping to maintain these classes while continuing to inspire the youth as well.