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Words and music to bring CSU-Pueblo and El Centro together

Release Date: September 15, 2014

Cora Zaletel

Executive Director, External Affairs

Colorado State University-Pueblo

(719) 549-2810

Press Release

PUEBLO – Words and music will bring Colorado State University-Pueblo students and El Centro together this fall through an afterschool enrichment program with workshops exploring writing, poetry, and guitar.
 
With a grant from Campus Compact of the Mountain West, CSU-Pueblo and El Centro del Quinto Sol Recreation Center  will offer an afterschool enrichment program that gives school-age children on Pueblo’s east side a unique chance to engage in writing projects and learn to play guitar throughout the fall, culminating in a public presentation of their work in December. El Centro is a recreational center run by the City of Pueblo Parks & Recreation at 609 N. Erie.
 
The idea took shape in Fall 2013 when a group of CSU-Pueblo faculty, staff  and East Side community members came together  to talk about possible experiential education and community engagement projects.  Drawing on the support and ideas of Dr. Scott Gage, assistant professor of English, and Dr. David Volk, associate professor and chair of music, Community-Based Research Coordinator for the Regional Access to Graduate Education Program Shanna Farmer spearheaded a grant application and planning for the El Centro program to launch September 15.
 
The program quickly drew in additional partners, including El Centro Program Coordinator Jessica Plascencia, and Norah Clydesdale, CSU-Pueblo cello instructor. English workshops by CSU-Pueblo graduate student Ryan Grooms focusing on poetry and other writing activities will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Mondays, with music workshops on reading music and introductory guitar from 4:30-5:30 on Wednesdays.  The El Centro students will present a public presentation of their work at El Centro on Friday, December 5.
 
Clydesdale, who will lead the music lessons at El Centro, comes from a family of musicians.  Her grandfather, an orchestra conductor and cellist who performed trios on cruise ships across the Atlantic, immigrated to New York from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1932.  Her mother sang professionally in opera productions in California’s Bay area.  She joined the CSU-Pueblo music faculty in August 2013. Plascencia has been the program coordinator since January 2012. She attended El Centro as a teenager from 2003-2008 and began working in 2008 as a recreational aide. She is originally from California, but has lived on the East Side since coming to Pueblo.
 
“I really appreciate the Center and the people here and what they have done for me,” Plascencia said. “My goal is to give back to El Centro and make a difference in the lives of these kids. We are here to keep them safe and give them the support they need. I want these kids to know that there are people who really do care about them.”
 
CSU-Pueblo students involved with the program will be able to connect meaningful service with relevant academic work and structured critical reflection. By developing this program, CSU-Pueblo students will be able to apply their knowledge and put their skills into practice. In return, the El Centro students will gain valuable tutoring lessons at no cost. They will learn through the CSU-Pueblo students they meet about college and opportunities available to them if they commit to their education.
 

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.

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