Chance the Rapper is Bringing the Arts Back to South Chicago Schools

One hip hop artist’s generosity is changing education in the windy city.

Mar 10, 2020

Educators may not always agree on teaching methods but the one thing they do concur with is that the arts play an important role in childhood education. There is a critical link between learning art and music and children's success in school. It is so important that many believe that education in the arts should be included in the core subjects like reading, social studies, math, and science.

But the reality is far from ideal. Many schools are operating on tight budgets and the arts have been cut from the curriculum of including those in Chicago, Illinois. But thanks to the generosity of one home-town musician over 7,000 public school children are now participating in music and art programs.

The man who is transforming the education system by taking millions out of his own pocket and giving it to public schools is none other than Chance the Rapper, the hip hop superstar who created his own charity Socialworks, a youth empowerment charity that has created an arts advocacy fund.

This charity has targeted the academically low-performing schools that need it the most including those from south Chicago's poorest neighborhoods, according to Freethink.  

At the Ira F. Aldridge Elementary School, a grant from the New Chance: Arts & Literature Fund, a three-year, $100,000 grant to establish programs that aim to enrich students' education.

"I remember Chance saying that his goal was to create options and opportunities and exposure for students who otherwise wouldn't have it, and that's exactly what it's doing," Cynthia Treadwell, the school's principal told Freethink.

The school, Treadwell said, was allowed considerable freedom on how it used the funds. "You had to create an action plan, you had to identify what you thought you wanted to do, but we weren't pigeonholed into sticking to that."

This allowed the school to offer a music program that ensures that every child can play a musical instrument including pianos, recorders, drums, and more. And, the school also partnered with Hubbard Street Dance to offer ballroom dancing for the kids. Part of the grant money is used for enrichment like field trips and theatrical productions like The Wiz and Annie.

"These kids want to learn," Kassandra Brown the school's music teacher said. "They just need to be given the tools to do it properly."

Chance the Rapper's charity has raised $4.2 million and distributed grants to 40 Chicago public schools.

This has allowed thousands of students to receive a quality arts education, enriching their lives, helping their self-esteem, and enabling them to pursue bold career choices they had not considered before.

School children who struggle at common core school subjects or are not athletic may now discover that they have hidden talents, since they have been exposed to arts and given the opportunity to study music through Chance the Rapper’s philanthropy. Through his charity, he may be creating remarkable empathetic people who will share ordinary and extraordinary acts of kindness that change the world for the better.

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DAWN SCHUSTER, CONTRIBUTOR
Dawn is a writer, graphic designer & the owner of a fair trade clothing company that works with vulnerable women. Her dream is to empower women through ethical fashion & to connect women across the world. A true free spirit she has lived in England, Israel, Kenya & India.