by Kristin Carlson
As the daughter of first-generation college graduates, I have experienced the power of educational enrichment to change lives in a meaningful way. My father was one of seven children born in a sod house in the Ozark Mountains where he had little access to doctors, let alone luxuries like books and theatre performances. Despite the odds, he graduated high school and college and became a parent determined to put books, music, and theatre within the reach of his own kids. One of the first purchases he made after my oldest brother was born was a set of encyclopedias, so that his children would “know things and see places” beyond our zip code. And despite a tight budget, my parents sent me to drama camp and drove me to rehearsals. They bought tickets to my choir concerts and school plays. And they asked me every day if I had asked any good questions (my father’s personal yardstick for a day well spent). As a Voices board member and teaching artist, this gal “from good hillbilly stock,” as my grandmother used to say, is thrilled to reach out to the next generation with arts opportunities designed to help expand minds, explore gifts, and lift voices to empower our beautiful, diverse community.