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City Life Center’s celebration of black heritage gives kids confidence, teaches heritage

Above: Students perform an African drum routine involving traditional percussion and African drums. (Photo provided)

information provided by City Life Center

GARY, Ind. (March 6, 2020) – City Life Center’s “Young, Gifted and Black” showcase provided students with a platform to give tribute to their culture through various forms of performing arts—dance, photography, puppetry, African drumline, drama, and more. For some parents the February 25 showcase was an emotional experience to witness their child in a new way.

“I was excited to see [my daughter] participate in the black history program because it was her first time performing since she’s been here at City Life Center,” said Karen Sims. “Usually she doesn’t want to participate, but now she’s excited, so I feel good about that.”

Katrina Dansby’s daughter performed an African dance routine with peers. “I felt very proud that she’s spreading her wings and having fun,” said Dansby. “I loved the whole show because it’s about our people and loving ourselves.”

City Life Center’s dancers end their performance with a powerful pose. (Photo provided)
The Hiat Steppers perform a dance step routine. (Photo provided)

“I’m always blown away by how outstanding the children’s performances are,” said Ken Barry, executive director of City Life Center. “What’s most exciting is seeing how the performances help kids overcome their fears and build confidence.”

Barry also mentioned the significance of integrating cultural appreciation in the center’s after school program. “Unfortunately, black history and culture aren’t passed on via oral tradition or taught in school these days,” he said. “The beauty of after school programs is that we have the freedom and opportunity to teach kids about their heritage.”

City Life Center is a non-profit organization based in Gary, Indiana, that helps families thrive by connecting them to opportunities, resources, and information. Further details are available at

The Lansing Journal
The Lansing Journal
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