Community Choice Energy Partners with DPIE to Promote Arts Enrichment

Michael Utsumi, Funding & Programs Coordinator
November 21, 2019

It’s probably been a very long time since you scrutinized your monthly power bill. However, for almost a decade, there was a line item added that possesses much significance. California State legislation that passed in 2002 was finally put into place in 2010 upon the defeat Proposition 16. This measure supported by PG&E, would make it more difficult for local entities to form Community Choice Aggregations (CCA). In essence, the creation of CCA’s allows not-for-profit agencies, to provide local control of where electricity is sourced. The mission would lead to cleaner power and more competitive prices. Equally important, it would also provide the opportunity to produce “greener” distributed generation.

The agency that serves Dublin is East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) – headquartered in downtown Oakland. Thanks to the encouragement of Alameda County First District Supervisor Scott Haggerty, DPIE pursued a grant offered by EBCE. Specifically, the grant would be to non-profit organizations that provide services in sports, art, music and STEM. DPIE was awarded one of these grants and our hope was to utilize these funds to replace “consumables” – art supplies used in some of our classes that need to be replaced quarterly.

As one of our four Pillars of Service - “Arts Education” - we try to provide this in our After-School STEAM program, investing in the art has some clear and some not so obvious benefits. To gain a teacher’s perspective, we sought out feedback from two of our instructors who are also certificated staff members at Amador Elementary School.  Christine Miller teaches “Color Your Dreams with Art” and Molly McCrory leads “Oodles of Doodles.” We recently had the opportunity to observe both classes and to hear them articulate the benefits of investing in the arts.

DPIE: Leading a course through DPIE, you can teach your passion. Please explain the value in providing additional exposure for students to the arts. Why is this important for their development?

Christine Miller: “When it comes to teaching, we as teachers have our passions. Art and science are my passion. Art is important not only in its social expression of emotion, thoughts and creativity, it encompasses all child developmental skills: academic, physical, fine motor and gross motor skills while building self-esteem and expression. Art allows children to strengthen science, history, math, reading, and social skills. Art and science allow children to embrace imperfections and embark on a world filled with adaptations, creativity and imagination.”

Ms Millers Color Your Dreams with Art class at Amador Elementary

Ms Miller's Color Your Dreams with Art Class at Amador Elementary.

Molly McCrory: “I love teaching art for many reasons! First and foremost, it is FUN for me to teach and it is fun for the kiddos. Sometimes, just having fun as a teacher, a kindergartener, a first grader and second grader is just the ticket! Kids these days have so much pressure on them and I love that art can be a time for them to express themselves creatively and to develop the right side of their brain. I also love that art, at such a young age, is an opportunity for students to develop their fine motor skills and with directed drawings, they can work on listening and following directions. Every teacher knows how important that is! Everyone can be an artist. They just need to learn the basics and I love that “Oodles of Doodles” gives them the tools and mediums to do this.”

Ms McCrory's Oodles of Doodles class at Amador Elementary

Ms McCrory's Oodles of Doodles art class at Amador Elementary

We would like to thank Christine and Molly for opening their classrooms and to share their observations. The Dublin Partners in Education would also thank East Bay Community Energy for their generous support. Just know that a small portion of your power bill is also supporting young artists in Dublin Unified elementary schools. 

Ms Miller and Ms McCrory are both teaching the in the DPIE Winter After School Program – click here to find out more information on their classes.