Carthage College has received a $3750 grant from the Kenosha Community Foundation to support Carthage’s Veterans Arts initiative and Veterans Storytelling Project.

The Veterans Storytelling Project was first piloted as part of Carthage’s annual Vet Night of the Arts event. The evening consisted of activities for the invited veterans as well as a creative writing workshop with Carthage Writer-in-Residence Rick Meier.

“The experience was pretty powerful,” says Martin McClendon, associate professor of theatre at Carthage. McClendon, who is the driving force behind Vet Night of the Arts adds, “Working with veterans has allowed us to instill in our theatre students a unique connection between their discipline and their community.”

The Veterans Storytelling Project builds to engage veterans over a longer period of time as they offer their stories in their voice. The KCF grant makes this longer engagement possible. Carthage student theatre artists will work with Veterans as part of the project. The work of veterans in the Storytelling Project will be integrated into the 2020 Vet Night of the Arts scheduled for November 16.

“As student theatre artists acquire the artistic tools to amplify the voices of those who may otherwise go unheard, they also learn to use those tools to initiate important and sometimes difficult conversations that we can all learn from,” McClendon says. “And in doing so, they respect and honor the stories and sacrifices of our neighbors who are veterans and military-affiliated.”

The KCF grant complements a $15,000 grant from the William Dean Charitable Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee to provide Green Zone training for faculty and staff. Green Zone training aims to build a network of supportive allies experienced with the concerns of military veteran students and will assist them in navigating the complexities of a college campus. The continued support Carthage receives for service members’ education is reflected in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 rankings, which rated Carthage the No. 1 school for veterans among Midwest regional colleges.

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