By Angela Romeo

“If I had not been fortunate enough to go to a school that had a drama program, I would have been a failure in my life. I am dyslexic and drama gave me a career and a fulfilling life of joy. I wish every student the same opportunity that I had. That’s why I believe in Tools for Tomorrow with all my heart.”

And with those words the importance of the arts becomes all the more acute.

Tools for Tomorrow, is a nonprofit corporation founded by Rachel Druten in 1999. Its goal is to provide drama, music and art developed literacy based curricula for grades K through 2 and 3 through 5. Programs are now in fifteen schools in the Palm Springs, Desert Sands, and Coachella Unified School Districts. These programs are free, on-site, after school program and have served almost 17,000.

Tools for Tomorrow, relies on its volunteers – experts in the arts who donate time to these programs. Ryan Chesla, a Palm Springs award-winning photographer is one such volunteer. “Tools for Tomorrow provides a worthwhile, if not necessary service to the community aimed at bringing the ‘arts’, in the form of art, creative writing, drama, and music, back into the California school district. By integrating these much needed cultural facets, participating youth have the amazing opportunity to develop emotional, social, and critical thinking skills and experience something that is lacking in today’s current educational curricula. Having been an arts educator for over two years I personally have had the opportunity to witness the positive impact this organization has made on these impressionable youth. Seeing the joy they experience as they ‘create’ is something that cannot be measured, only experienced. That is why I volunteer,” noted Ryan.

Concomitant with volunteers and other in kind services are funds needed to keep such programs alive. Tool for Tomorrow is supported by the VISIONARIES, the fund-raising arm of the nonprofit. On November 19 VISIONARIES will host an event featuring writer and Hollywood actress Joyce Bulifant. She will be speaking about her latest book, My Four Hollywood Husbands. The event will also feature local creative talents including Palm Desert Charter Middle School Jazz Ensemble, vocalist and former TFT instructor Kaitlyn and vocalist Ciera Carr.  The event will be held at Acqua California Bistro on November 19 from 4-7PM.

Joyce Bulifant is no stranger to the arts. Many are aware of her acting career but she as a writer, in addition to her latest book, she has written and performed in two one-woman shows, wrote an NBC movie of the week, and wrote and directed Gifts of Greatness and Different Heroes, Different Dreams. She is also a supporter of many worthwhile causes and has served on many charitable boards including Tool for Tomorrow. Ms. Bulifant is also Executive Vice President of The Dyslexia Foundation.

We all need to recognize the importance of the arts. It is programs and organization such as Tools for Tomorrow that keep creativity flowing.  Another collaboration of artists/TFT the exhibition of student artwork showing from November 1-14 at Galleria Marconi, 2668 Cherokee Way, Palm Springs. Marconi Calindas-Cafege, artist and gallerist stated “We did it early this year and just to see the faces of these kids who are proud to have their works on display. It was priceless. I believe in the organization and its mission. There should be more organizations like this that help hone the creativity of the kids despite limited means from school and their neighborhood.”

The importance of art – one need look no farther than the opening quote by Joyce Bulifant.

 For more visit: www.toolsfortomorrow.org

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