Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Blue Planet International Explorers Bazaar & Writers Room

  • West Palm Beach, FL
  • www.blueplanetwriters.org

Mission Statement

The mission of Blue Planet International Explorers' Bazaar & Writers' Room is to inspire students to write, to teach them the skills they need to write well, and to offer them fun adn effective ways to see their writing come to life. 
 
Blue Planet believes that good writers can make a difference at three levels:  
personal, where they can express themselves in a creative, constructive fashion; community, where they can advocate for themselves, their families, and their neighbors; and global, where they can further the cause of international cooperation and peace.

Main Programs

  1. Reach Out and Write
  2. Write Across the Planet

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Service Areas

Self-reported

Florida

Palm Beach County, Florida and the surrounding areas, plus overseas organizations/cities participating in international collaborative projects (past & current include Sligo & Ballydown, Ireland; Southend-on-Sea, England; Merida, Mexico; Kyoto, Japan; Bamako, Mali)

ruling year

2009

Principal Officer

Self-reported

Ms. Cora Bresciano

Co Principal Officer

Self-reported

Susan Gay Hyatt

Keywords

Self-reported

arts education, arts integration, writing, creative writing, international collaboration, international education

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Also Known As

Blue Planet Writers' Room

EIN

26-3055126

Physical Address

439 Northwood Rd.

West Palm Beach, 33407 5815

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Each year, Blue Planet serves low-income students across Palm Beach County with arts-integrated writing and literacy workshops. Since its first workshops in 2009, the company has served well over 5,000 deserving children. The founders have also served hundreds of teachers with professional development workshops that demonstrate how to use creative writing and the arts to increase students’ engagement and achievement in academic subjects. Blue Planet students have created hardcover, illustrated books; published e-books (So Many Heroes series on www.lulu.com; search for “so many heroes”); designed and/or written for their own websites; and continually improved their skills in writing and reading by engaging in deeper learning through the use of visual arts, dance, movement, and drama.

A unique part of Blue Planet’s programming is the use of international collaborations. To date, ten of these projects have taken place between local students and their peers in Mexico, Ireland, Japan, and Mali. Students have worked together via email, regular mail, and Skype to create work in English and Spanish for Tiger Paws (www.clickwebzine.org/tigerpaws); they have written short articles in English and Japanese for their own tourist site called The Florida-Kyoto Pages (http://thefloridakyotopages.wordpress.com); they have met “in person” via the internet, sharing songs, artwork, stories, and bilingual word games; and they have sent handmade cards back and forth between countries. In 2013-14, we intend to expand our partnerships into schools in England, as well.

Other projects that Blue Planet has led over the past few years include creative and business writing workshops for teen mothers in the Transitions Home shelter, runaways at the Safe Harbor shelter, and young girls in the Nelle Smith Residence at Children’s Home Society in West Palm Beach. Teaching writers and artists have also led workshops for the teens at the Northwood Youth Empowerment Center and for immigrant students in the school district’s Migrant Education program in Belle Glade. In addition, they have led in-school workshops for science, social studies, and language arts classes at elementary, middle, and high schools around the county. Recently, a week-long Young Writers’ Adventure during Spring Break took 4th and 5th graders from the Northwood neighborhood of West Palm Beach through Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, using visual art, creative writing, and movement.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Reach Out and Write

Semester-long afterschool workshops in creative writing enable kids in grades 3-12 to improve their skills by crafting stories and poems while creating final projects like mini-websites, e-books, and  illustrated storybooks.

Category

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

$40,000.00

Program 2

Write Across the Planet

Third- through twelfth-graders use the internet to write and create with students in other countries. Semester-long workshops result in bilingual websites, colaborative storybooks, and other projects.

Category

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

$12,000.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Our goal is getting students excited about what they’re learning. Current educational research shows that the arts can be very successful at increasing engagement in academic subjects. Following Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, the arts also give children an alternate “way in” to subjects that might be difficult for them to master in a traditional classroom setting. And the arts provide a way to encourage deep learning about a subject: experiencing a book by reading it, imitating its style in an original story, distilling its essence into a poem, interpreting it through movement or dance, drawing or building elements from it, and so forth, reinforces the story and the reading process in ways that simple drilling or memorization never can. Arts integration is at the heart of all of Blue Planet’s work with young students.

    We have also found that international collaboration is an excellent complement to an arts-integrated approach. Duplicating many of the benefits of arts integration, these collaborations also provide many unique benefits, such as increasing global awareness, teaching tolerance and the celebration of differences, using technology to enable students to work together across borders and time zones, and providing an international audience for their hard work. As local students learn about the world from their international partners, they are also teaching about the United States and their families’ cultures and traditions.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    In 2013-2014, Blue Planet will implement its Read, Write, Create program in afterschool and summer camp sites in Palm Beach County. The program will consist of 70 residencies by teaching writers and teaching artists; these experienced professionals will use creative writing and the arts to support and improve the literacy skills of elementary and middle school students.

    The residencies will span 10 weeks in the fall semester, 12 weeks in the spring, and 8 weeks during the summer months. For one hour, once a week, the artists-in-residence will share age-appropriate books with their students and engage them in creative activities related to those books; for example, students will write their own stories or poetry, craft handmade books, act out plays, create props and scenery for those plays, move and dance, play drama games, and take part in other expressive activities. All of these are targeted at increasing students’ skills—and joy—in reading and writing, even as they are improving their abilities in the various art forms.

    Hometown Stories is an international project that was piloted in Fall 2012. Over the course of five workshops, a teaching writer leads high school students in taking a memory of their hometown and turning it into a polished story. The finished pieces are published on an interactive website that features a clickable Google map of the world (www.hometownstories.org). When a “pin” representing a hometown is clicked, the corresponding story is displayed. As the project grows, we expect to offer it to schools in “hometowns” around the globe.

    The Planet in Your Classroom is a brand-new initiative being piloted this year. Following the results of a teacher survey about what directions the project should take, a team from Blue Planet will travel to various countries (beginning with Yucatán, México in November 2013) to produce mini-films, interview natives, and write articles about the countries and their cultures. This content will be published to a dedicated website along with specialized lesson plans tied to the site’s content and to the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for education. The site will be a resource for teachers of language arts, social studies, world languages, and other subjects, and will address the important global competence requirements stressed by the CCSS.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Cora Bresciano is the co-founder and Executive Director of Blue Planet Writers’ Room; she oversees the company’s operations as well as its creative, educational, and international initiatives.

    Before co-founding Blue Planet Writers’ Room, Cora served as the Director of Foundation and Government Relations for a major regional theatre, was the Resident Musical Director of a children’s theatre company, and taught College English at a Florida university. She has also taught general music and chorus in a classroom setting and spent a number of years freelancing as a theatrical music director, vocal coach, and composer/lyricist; a number of her children's musicals have been awarded production grants from the Broward Cultural Division and have been produced at theatres in Florida and New York. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in English/Creative Writing from Florida Atlantic University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Hofstra University in New York.

    Susan Gay Hyatt co-founded Blue Planet Writers’ Room and now serves as Lead Consultant for the organization. She has worked with young people as an arts educator since 1994. She holds a BFA in Theatre from Youngstown State University, an MFA in Acting from Florida Atlantic University, and expects to graduate with a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction (focus on arts education) from FAU in 2014.

    She spent two years as a counselor for youth-in-crisis at Covenant House Florida, six years as an artist-in-residence with the Center for Creative Education, and six years as the Director of Education for Florida Stage, a professional regional theatre company. In 2008, Susan received the Muse Award for Arts Educator of the Year from the Palm Beach County Cultural Council. She is a founding member of the Council’s Cultural Education Committee and served on the Palm Beach County School District’s Arts Education Task Force Professional Development Committee. Under the auspices of Florida Stage, Susan created drama and dramatic writing programs in partnership with the Children’s Services Council’s Transitions Home for Teen Mothers, the Lord’s Place homeless shelter, the GEAR-UP program for underprivileged teens in Pahokee, Florida, and the Lake Worth Planned Parenthood Teen Time Center.

    Susan taught as an adjunct faculty member at both Lynn University and Florida Atlantic University and was Vice-President of the Board of Directors of Theatre for Young Audiences/USA.

    Read, Write, Create is made possible with support from Prime Time Palm Beach County, Inc., which receives significant funding from the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, Inc.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Not available.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Not available.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Florida

Palm Beach County, Florida and the surrounding areas, plus overseas organizations/cities participating in international collaborative projects (past & current include Sligo & Ballydown, Ireland; Southend-on-Sea, England; Merida, Mexico; Kyoto, Japan; Bamako, Mali)

Social Media

Blog

Funding Needs

Blue Planet seeks funding for its Reach Out and Write initiative of semester-long, arts- and technology-integrated writing workshops for third- through twelfth-graders. The company also seeks funding for Write Across the Planet, a series of international collaborations between students in Florida and their peers in other nations, who work together to write and make art.

photos




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Financials

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Blue Planet International Explorers Bazaar & Writers Room

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
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  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
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Principal Officer

Ms. Cora Bresciano

Co Principal Officer

Susan Gay Hyatt

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Michael Wallander

Sustainable Law Counsel, The Kapok Group

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization


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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?