Head Start mini grant to be used for concert focused on literacy

Photo courtesy the Merry Music Maker Facebook page
Paula Doak performs for children at a show in 2012.

STERLING — A $1,250 mini grant received by the Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency Head Start in Sterling will be used to bring Paula Doak, known as the Merry Music Maker, to the area for a performance.

Amy Pratt, the area NEMCSA manager, said Doak’s performance for Head Start students and their families will be the main attraction of a literacy night funded with the grant, which was received from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

“She’s going to do a family concert, and her songs all promote literacy,” Pratt said. “It’s music and movement and sign language. She has different songs that are literacy based.”

Pratt said Doak’s shows are a hit with children.

“We know that she’s a lot of fun, and the kids love her,” she said. “She has great music that is meeting our goal for the literacy part of it.”

The program will be open to any Head Start program in the county, Pratt said. There are two Head Starts, one in Sterling and one in Omer, with 34 students in each location, she said. Pratt said she also plans to invite students and families from the Pinconning Head Start program, which has 18 students.

There is currently no set date or location for the show, but Pratt said she wants to hold it at the Standish-Sterling Central High School auditorium.

“We’re just starting the planning right now, but I’m hoping to have it at the high school, because we need a stage,” she said. “Typically, we do it at the arts council building, but we’re hoping to give it more of a theatre-feel for families.”

The show will be free to attend, Pratt said.

According to Marsha Braun, director of marketing at the Saginaw Arts and Enrichment Commission — the re-granting agency for region 7 of the state council for arts — agencies in the region apply for the mini grants in the fall and are approved in the winter.

“They apply in October and then it goes through an application process for final approval,” she said. “We got approval from the state right before Christmas.”

Sterling Head Start has applied several times in the past, Braun said.

“They’ve applied for a mini grant for a number of years now and have been very successful,” she said.


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