Home > PUM One on One with Susan Brozek Scott, Founder Afterschool Buddy, Inc.- Uniting Youth through the power of creativity and educational programs

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PUM One on One with Susan Brozek Scott, Founder Afterschool Buddy, Inc. - Uniting Youth through the power of creativity and educational programs.

 

Afterschool Buddy auditions for children interested in becoming one of The Rainbow Kids are September 4, 2014. Email info@afterschoolbuddy.com or call 412-486-2151 to schedule a time. 
 
 
The Rainbow Kids® is a multi-cultural performance troupe of children, ages 7 to 16, whose members represent public, private, parochial and cyber schools in Western PA.


Afterschool Buddy, Inc. is a Western Pennsylvania-based, multimedia production company that produces educational and entertainment programming for children. Our goal: Educate. Entertain. Explore. Excite! ™. 

 

(Pictured: Susan Brozek Scott, founder, Afterschool Buddy, Inc. with members of the Rainbow Kids, Jake Poodles & Aunt Junk-click photos to enlarge)

PUM: Tell us more about The Rainbow Kids and why you created this troupe?

Susan: I spent 28 years in commercial television, working in 5 TV stations in four states, including WPXI and WTAE in Pittsburgh.  While working in both news and then in local programming, I began to see a real need to fill what I saw as a void in certain types of educational and entertainment content. I also saw that many opportunities were available to children in other parts of the country, but fewer opportunities to gain real world multimedia experience were happening here. So I did a lot of research and began to envision ways to create new content, to create more opportunities for Western PA children, and to start something new. 

First, we formed a company, Afterschool Buddy, Inc., and then, we launched The Rainbow Kids® which is a multi-cultural performance troupe made up currently of children ages 7 through 16. It’s a program where kids can grow and develop skills in performing arts, while they also learn skills to help them succeed in life.

 

(Pictured: Susan Brozek Scott with Walt Maddox, Afterschool Buddy Board of Directors) 

 

PUM: How is your organization committed to helping young people, by using the arts?

Susan: Afterschool Buddy, Inc., is committed to helping young people through the arts at many levels, from pre-school through college age, by involving them in different ways in our programming.

At the elementary and middle school level, we work every week with The Rainbow Kids®, teaching them skills in dancing, singing, and acting. Then, we give this core group of local children unique opportunities to use their skills and talents to educate and entertain larger audiences of children through performances, events and other multimedia programming.  You might have seen us these past five years at a festival, a parade, an after school program or an in school assembly.

At the college level, we’ve offered internships and other mentoring opportunities to students studying media and communications, marketing, and public relations. We’ve also worked with professors and two entire classes so far on projects that gave students valuable real world experience. They in turn, observe, research and give us important feedback on what we are doing, which is truly a win-win situation.

All the programming we create, is then performed or presented to the public, to help educate and entertain children about a wide variety of topics, from healthy eating, to food safety, from bullying prevention to multi-cultural music.  I’m not sure people are aware yet of how much we do because we have been so busy doing it, but we are happy to work now to get that message out.  Our goal is to Educate. Entertain. Explore. Excite! ™ 

 

(Rainbow Kids participating in Springdale Parade)

 

PUM: The Rainbow Kids have participated in a number of exciting appearances; tell us more about some of them and what is on the horizon?

Susan: Thanks to a really long list of event planners, media friends, corporations and organizations, we have had great appearances and opportunities these past five years. We have appeared on TV annually since 2009 in the annual WPXI holiday parade, which is always an exciting, live event. Our first “Adventures with Afterschool Buddy & the Gang” episode, a milestone, was available on TV through Comcast OnDemand.

We’ve been everywhere from PNC Park, to CONSOL Energy Center, from the Pittsburgh Zoo to Kennywood Park. We’ve appeared at pet days, community days, children’s festivals and church festivals, relays, regattas, races, malls and fundraisers for many wonderful non-profit organizations and worthy foundations. Last year, a unique community partnership of more than 30 businesses, the mayor and school district in Bethel Park led to assemblies at all five Bethel Park Elementary Schools. This summer alone, we reached several hundred children in communities all across Allegheny County during summer camps at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western PA.  

We are always ready to talk to anyone to see what we might be able to do to enhance any live event, not only with our group, but also with some very talented partners that we can bring in.  Everything we do is about collaboration & teaming up to create great events and great opportunities that touch a lot of people and a lot of children’s lives.

 My ultimate goal is to get “Adventures with Afterschool Buddy & the Gang®” on television and on the internet, coming out of Pittsburgh, creating Pittsburgh jobs for multimedia professionals and creating exciting, new opportunities for children here while also creating new learning experiences for children across the country.  We are well prepared and absolutely ready for that moment, we have worked non-stop to build the foundation of people here that have the skills, who have the passion, to make it happen.  What we need now is the breakthrough financial support to take this over the top. I’m ready, our children are ready, our entire team is ready and I know there is a need for what we are uniquely qualified to do for children.

 

PUM: You are bringing kids from all walks of life together, why is that important to you as the creator and how does this help our city overall?

Susan: To build the best city, to build the best country, we know we have to start at a very early age to teach not only performance skills, but also, to teach life skills.  We feel that a very important way of doing this is to bring children from different backgrounds together in a model that teaches them lessons beyond acting, dancing and singing.

For some kids, the path to success starts with being prepared for rehearsal and on time. For others, the focus may be teaching them how to set short term and long term goals and helping them understand how hard work, patience and discipline helps achieve them. For all of the kids, it means learning to work individually and also as a team, with kids who may look different from you, have a different ethnic, religious or socio-economic background than you.  If everyone in a group is a mirror image, that’s an opportunity missed. We welcome diversity. In our five years in Pittsburgh, we have had children from Southwestern PA and from literally all over the world come through our doors. We have all learned from that, it’s been simply a fantastic experience to get to know and learn from each other.

In turn, many of the teens that have “graduated” from our program, have been great ambassadors, doing work in other countries, whether by volunteering at a school in Kenya or visiting an orphanage in Peru. Our choreographer, Joyce Ellis, who is also the Executive Director of the Lemoyne Community Center in Washington County, spent several weeks this year traveling to South Africa, exchanging cultural stories with school children there.  When she returned, “Miss Joyce” sat down with The Rainbow Kids® and shared those stories and brought another part of the world home to us.

There’s no telling what the impact of this will be 10, 20, 30 years down the road, but so far, we are greatly encouraged.  We are preparing children to work together, to learn as much as possible and become good Americans and good global citizens.

 

PUM: Interacting with various kids on a daily basis through this program, how are you inspired?

Susan: Every time I see any child set and achieve a goal, I’m thoroughly inspired. In The Rainbow Kids®, we’ve had singers come in who were adamant that they couldn’t dance, go out in a few weeks and win their middle school or high school dance competition. It was much the same with some dancers, who started out very timid to sing or speak in front of a crowd.  As we watch them learn new skills and develop more self-confidence, it’s very rewarding for us, for them, and for their parents.

We keep mixing it up, so they have something new to work on and together, it makes the entire team stronger. Not to mention, it’s a lot of fun. Basically, I try to give them every single opportunity we can put in the program that I either had, or wish I had, growing up. Our kids go into a recording studio, they’ve been on TV sets, we’ve done our own music video, as well as featured them doing interviews in educational videos we play for other children.  Some of our performance venues are huge, some are small, but the lesson we want them to learn is that you give each thing you do, everything you’ve got.  If they learn that lesson alone, it’s just a great feeling.  If they carry these lessons, new self-confidence and a “can-do” attitude over to other activities and other parts of their lives, we all benefit.

PUM: What do kids need to do to get involved in this program?

Susan: There are two ways to get involved.

First, we invite all children to “Be Our Buddy”, which means to simply take time to come and meet us in person, see a show, or they can have an adult invite us to come to them, whether it’s at school in an assembly, through an after school program or community event.

Second, there is the performance end. For kids and parents that want a supportive, learning climate for their children in multimedia, we invite them to come out and audition for The Rainbow Kids®, we would love to meet them.  Parents or legal guardians can email info@afterschoolbuddy.com or call 412-486-2151 to schedule an audition. Our next auditions are Thursday, September 4, 2014 in Lawrenceville at the Estelle S. Campbell Boys and Girls Club.  We schedule each child to arrive and audition with their parent(s) individually, so it’s a private, warm and personal chance to meet, talk and see what each child can do, and find out what they would like to do, not just in performing arts, but in life.  

For example, if a child comes in that loves animals and says they want to be a veterinarian, the first thing we do is see how they could work with our animal ambassadors, our giant costume characters Jake Poodles® and Manny Cat®. It’s fun & educational experiences like that, that can simply be a lot of interactive fun.  We’re here to create great content, great memories and as many opportunities for children as possible.

  

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