I actually met Sarah-Jane Ripa during Orientation week at an event on Wesleyan’s campus where she was running a booth for Green Street Arts Center. I asked her about ballet classes at Green Street and she told me that none were presently offered but that she would be glad to find me a teacher so I could continue my passion for dancing. She told me that she would make it work.
I didn’t know it then, but I would be working with Sarah-Jane just three months later. Since coming to Green Street I have found it to be the kind of place that supports people following their passions. I have had the pleasure
of speaking with many of Green Street’s adult students who tell me how much they enjoyed their teacher or their class and they want to make sure to sign up for the next session. As for the kids of Green Street, it is clear in their faces. Just yesterday I worked with a child in the after school program, who quickly finished all her homework (getting all her spelling words correct) and who then wanted to color pastel pictures with me, and the day before I watched a first-grader correctly finish his math homework in 5 minutes, and then ask me for long division problems to practice for fun.
I have spent the past year working with Sarah-Jane and the other members of the Green Street Arts Center team on various projects, helping to run events, working in the after-school program, and organizing classes. This is a group of extremely dedicated people who truly do make it work. Despite tough economic times, Green Street has remained dedicated to its students. There are so many options available to the point where you can sign up for a class or a private lesson in nearly any creative genre you could think of. You can also attend interesting events ranging from the Sunday Salons to cultural dance events to various performances by local musicians.
I think that Green Street is a place where anyone can come to express themselves and explore their passions. Sarah-Jane made the ballet class work for me and my friends and we study on Saturday mornings with a fantastic teacher.
I love coming to work at Green Street because it is my way of being active in the community I am living in. I thoroughly enjoy working with the children and adults of Green Street to share our common passion for creative expression with the Middletown community. It has affected me in a very meaningful way and because of it, Middletown, as well as each of us, is more beautiful.
Submitted by Emma Zawacki, Wesleyan Student and Green Street Worker