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Stepping up: Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts helps educate students in Russia

Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts has been working with students at Pchyolka Organization in Kaliningrad, Russia. (Courtesy of Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts)

Never stop learning.

That’s an ideal the leaders at Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts are cultivating – especially during the pandemic.

The Albuquerque-based nonprofit has been providing students in Kaliningrad, Russia, with the curriculum from Keshet’s M3 – Movement + Mentorship = Metamorphosis – program.

A free virtual event at 10 a.m. Jan. 23 will give the community a peek into an international learning exchange between Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts and Kaliningrad’s Pchyolka Organization.

This exchange has grown out of the development of Keshet’s M3 curriculum, and all initiatives are focused on finding solutions to pressing social issues common to the U.S. and Russia.

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“Core to the philosophy of both Keshet and Pchyolka is the empowerment of youth and young adults through community and long-term mentorship,” says Shira Greenberg, founder and artistic director of Keshet. “We are thrilled that our M3 Curriculum can be shared and translated across cultures to activate the powerful vehicle of the arts, supporting of the work of Pchyolka and the incredible young individuals they serve in Kaliningrad.”

Keshet’s effort is supported by the Eurasia Foundation through the U.S.-Russia Social Expertise Exchange.

The support facilitates the international partnership with Kaliningrad’s Pchyolka Organization, providing Keshet the opportunity to train Russian arts educators to utilize Keshet’s unique M3 Curriculum which has been highly successful as a form of alternative programming in the Juvenile Justice system, decreasing recidivism rates and shifting trajectories of young lives impacted by the justice system.

Greenbert says Keshet’s M3 faculty share their curriculum with art specialists at Pchyolka in Kaliningrad, Russia, as Pchyolka specialists are developing their arts programming to better serve at-risk and orphaned youths.

Kaliningrad’s Pchyolka Organization reached out to Keshet in 2019 to begin conversations exploring the opportunity to train Russian arts educators to use Keshet’s unique M3 curriculum.

Pchyolka works with youths and young adults within the Russian orphanage system. Russian youths who age out of the orphanage system at 16 years old have an average life expectancy of merely 30, with 9 out of 10 orphan “graduates” falling prey to addiction, prostitution, crime, gangs, trafficking or suicide.

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