The Crusader Newspaper Group

NWI Mcdonald’s operators celebrate 10,000th student reached in literacy program

The Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Owners/Operators (NIMO) were presented with the prestigious “Patron of the Year” award at the 23rd Annual South Shore Arts’ Beaux Arts Ball. At the event NIMO joined South Shore Arts in commemorating a major milestone in their partnership as they accepted the Patron Award and celebrated their collective achievements in education. As another school year comes to a close, both NIMO and South Shore Arts are excited to announce having reached 10,000 students through their 5-year Skin You Live In program partnership.

For the past five years NIMO has been a sponsor of South Shore Arts’ The Skin You Live In youth literacy program. Presented to students in elementary schools throughout North- west Indiana, this program is based around Michael Tyler’s “The Skin You Live In” book. With illustrations done by Hammond artist David Csicsko, the book promotes both the importance of reading and shares a message of acceptance and diversity. The arts-based literacy program was created to teach second-grade students the values of friendship, social acceptance and diversity.

After the students have been introduced to the book, an instructor from South Shore Arts visits their classroom and leads a special art project that combines the lessons of the story with hands-on participation. Students create their own face using multicultural paper and other art materials, allowing them to celebrate their own individuality and the joy of friendship.

“The Skin You Live In program represents a great opportunity to encourage literacy and support strong values while highlighting our commitment to education in the Region. Having reached 10,000 students from Northwest Indiana with messages of acceptance, friendship and diversity is something that we all hold in the highest regard. The Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Owner/Operators are also thrilled and humbled to accept the well-respected Patron of the Year Award at the Beaux Arts Ball,” said Bob Mazzaro, NIMO Board president and Northwest Indiana McDonald’s owner/operator.

Every year, South Shore Arts honors special patrons who have helped make the arts available to the people of Northwest Indiana. NIMO has been selected as this year’s Patron of the Year Award for their partnership with South Shore Arts, part of their on-going commitment to youth literacy and education. The Beaux Arts Ball fundraiser was held at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster.

“Education is central to our mission,” said John Cain, Executive Director of South Shore Arts. “We are thrilled that the Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Owner/Operators have embraced our Skin You Live In program for second grade students. They have not only provided funding, but also participated with the kids so they could see the value of the program first hand. Reaching a 10,000 students served milestone represents a very meaningful partnership.”

The Beaux Arts Ball is South Shore Art’s largest fundraiser with proceeds from the ball funding the everykid program, which this year will provide art education opportunities for over 30,000 children and youth primarily in underserved areas of the South Shore region. The Beaux Arts Ball is a sold-out, black-tie event drawing 450 attendees with a goal of generating more than $188,000 for art education programming in the community. It is considered one of the top events in the South Shore.


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