East Chicago offers a variety of programs and teams to local children who are interested in sports. However, there are significantly fewer options for children who have the desire to practice and develop skills in the visual and performing arts.


This lack of offerings is what prompted the development of Leon Kendrick Youth Voices United of East Chicago (LKYVU). This program got its start under the East Chicago Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. The program provides classes in a variety of art disciplines to East Chicago children from low and middle income families.


Classes are held at the former Carnegie Library but the students also have the opportunity to perform in shows, recitals and events across the city. Students who participate in the painting classes showcase their art at LKYVU shows.


Each year, the LKYVU classes have a central theme around which the songs, dances and art are created. This year’s theme is Raise Up Peace in Your Community. Students will perform songs and dances with the goal of promoting peace where they live.


The classes being offered this year include hip hop dance, poms dance, piano, vocals, painting and drama. Courses are held at different times throughout the year and are open to children ages six to 18.


Being a nonprofit organization, LKYVU relies entirely on grant money, fundraising and donations for keeping the doors open. This year, they have received a Foundations of East Chicago (FEC) program grant and have held several fundraising events in the community.


 This past summer, the organization also piloted an adult program offering classes in crocheting, jewelry making, aerobics and more. This is a paid program and LKYVU hopes to be able to hold it every summer as an additional funding source for the youth programs.


To learn more about LKYVU, visit www.FoundationsEC.org.