Alexandria non-profit Momentum Collective wants to be a charter school teaching the arts | ALXnow

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In five years, Jason Ellis wants Momentum Collective, Inc. to be a charter school teaching the arts to children in Northern Virginia.

The nonprofit resumed programming in October, after a two-year Covid hiatus, and is once again teaching low- and moderate-income children how to sing, dance and play in summer camps and after the school at the Ruby Tucker Center of the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority. About 90 school-aged children have participated since programming resumed, and the plan is to eventually bring back middle and high school children.

Ellis, who founded the nonprofit six years ago, is a former program and director of resident and community services at ARHA. He is a director, actor, singer, dancer and writer.

“I’m about empowerment,” Ellis told ALXnow. “We gave our children a sense of urgency so they could control their own lives and destinies and make good choices.”

Momentum Collective, Inc. Partners with Alexandria City Public Schools Link Club Programthe city and ARHA to work with the children after school and during the summer.

“There aren’t a lot of opportunities for kids, especially black and brown kids from underprivileged families, who don’t have the financial resources to participate in meaningful arts enrichment programs in the city,” he said. said Ellis. “We created the organization specifically to target children in the city of Alexandria to have free access to artistic enrichment programs.”

Ellis also served as the school principal of YouthBuild Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. from 2018 to 2019. It was an experience that changed the direction of the organization.

“We have a five-year plan to start a charter school for middle school kids,” Ellis said. “For now, however, our short-term plan is to expand our programming to other leisure centres, particularly in the West End, as this is still an underserved area of ​​the city.”

Momentum Collective is hosting a creative writing workshop in September at the Jefferson Houston Recreation Center. The workshop is open to children from Alexandria and cash prizes will be awarded to the winners.

“Then we’re actually going to stage their writing productions of our winners,” Ellis said.

Ellis and his team use technology to engage their students.

“Children are very interested in playing,” he said. “By nature they want to show something, that’s why they’re constantly on TikTok and Instagram. So if I say I’m going to work on something that you can put on TikTok, they get it – that’s the end result for them and that’s what they want to work towards. If I give them a script and tell them that we’re going to put a web series on YouTube, that excites them, because that’s what they know.

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