Embracing Community Arts


Coley Hatt, Columnist

Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan once said “Literacy unlocks the door to learning throughout life”. Rebecca Hatt, a Sophomore at Biddeford High School has taken those words to heart. Previously awarded the Prudential Spirit of Community Award and the Girl Scout’s Silver Award for “Project Confidence”, A charitable project that Hatt started to help impoverished women in Biddeford get the hygiene products they needed, Rebecca is now working on a new project. Embracing Community Arts or ECA for short. This new project focuses on “mak[ing] resources for literature, dance lessons, and art supplies available for students in the community.” ECA achieves this by delivering its art supplies alongside the Biddeford Schools own food distribution and delivery network. This clever system has allowed for over 740 books to be distributed to kids who need them. The charitable organization has been operating since June. According to the charities site, it has given “749 books[,] art supplies & opportunities to dance” to the community to date. But it is not slowing down now. 


The organization is committed to continuing their efforts to bring literature to Biddeford. “I plan on continuing distributing more kits with the monthly free food distribution at John F Kennedy School with Bryan Litchfield’s help.” Said Hatt when asked about the organizations plans for the rest of 2020 and beyond. “I hope to work with Mary Bellavance to continue to reach remote learners”. Feedback from those who have participated in the program has been overwhelmingly positive. In a survey of local parents whose children participated in ECA, many responded positively. “[It helped] seeing friends from school[,] they got a little lonely so it helped” Said one parent whose child had participated. Another wrote “[My daughter] enjoyed new activities that where structured but still independent & enjoyed sharing with friends”. One Parent, Annie Rosario, even got to share a special moment with her daughter, Zoe. “We’re tackling Zoe’s first chapter book. Thanks to Embrac[ing] Community Arts for this wonderful book they gave to Zoe this summer” When asked about how the current pandemic has affected Hatt’s efforts, she responded “I believe when we share our passion with our community we can improve the lives of others when they are enduring difficult times. I had planned to meet in person with students in my community, but with the current social distancing instruction in place I believe now more than ever the students in my community need the access to the feeling of connection that the arts and literature provides.” Even in challenging times such as these, Embracing Community Arts has proven that with time and dedication, a positive change in the community can be made.