by Vicky Smith, Executive Director of King Street Youth Center
For some of the families who live closest to the Flynn, it might as well be a million miles away. The Flynn team, however, is determined to bridge that gap and make the Flynn Center and FlynnArts an integral part of our neighborhood and our community.
King Street Center has been serving the low-income youth of Burlington’s core and south end neighborhoods for over 40 years. Community partners such as FlynnArts are absolutely crucial as we strive to provide personal and social wellness through educational, recreational, and social programs. Each week during the school year, a cluster of King Street Center children are chaperoned on foot just one block up and one block over, and whisked into the dance studios of FlynnArts. No, they aren’t dressed in pink leotards. And no, their parents are not among those waiting in the hallway for the duration of class. But, they are just as eager as their fellow students as they toss their shoes into the corner, ready to dance. Their faces are open and light up as they are greeted by their instructor. It may be Lida. Or Susanna, Lois, or Tracy; teachers who guide them in movement, hearing music, and giving them the freedom to dance in the safe, inspired space of FlynnArts. King Streeter Lisa says, “I love the games we play with Lida. I even won the ‘funniest’ dance contest last year. I feel energized when I go to the Flynn.”
King Street Center has celebrated this important partnership with the Flynn for at least 15 years. Youth have the chance to participate in summer camp opportunities as well as the school-year sessions, opening up the worlds of drama and dance. While funding has become precarious for this “luxury” item, year after year, the Flynn prioritizes neighborhood children. For that, we are so grateful.