Causes: Arts and Culture, Children and Youth, Education
Kids Excel El Paso, Inc. (KEEP), is a non-profit arts education organization serving primarily disadvantaged and at-risk children in El Paso County, Texas. Using the award-winning National Dance Institute (NDI) teaching techniques created nearly 50 years ago by former New York City Ballet principal dancer and MacArthur Fellow, Jacques d’Amboise, KEEP’s energetic and dynamic curriculum teaches children the fundamental values of determination, discipline, and excellence. Each week, in gymnasiums and cafeterias throughout El Paso, thousands of lives are transformed through the magic of music and dance.
KEEP began as a pilot program in 2004, serving 3 schools and 280 children in South El Paso. Over the last 16 years, KEEP has grown annually to meet the demand for its programming and will serve more than 2,700 children in 35 El Paso schools over the course of the 2019-2020 school year. Since inception, KEEP has served 30,622 children, 1,186 classroom teachers, and 348,920 audience members. The children at the schools KEEP serves average 94% Minority, 84% Economically Disadvantaged, 69% At-Risk, and 51% Limited English Proficient. As a consequence of their socioeconomic demographics, many of KEEP’s students are marginalized in terms of societal expectations, extra-curricular opportunities, and support, all of which can lead to diminished self-esteem and scholastic underachievement. KEEP’s programming aims to enhance the educational experience of these children by providing students with access to high-quality arts instruction.
KEEP’s Arts Education Outreach Program is conducted on the campus of each of its 35 partner schools. Because in-school classes are held for the entire fourth grade level as part of the school day, children who might not have the resources to participate in extra-curricular arts activities have the opportunity to expand their horizons and experience quality dance and music education.
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