Children learn life values at Kwanzaa Winter Youth Academy

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — About a dozen children took part in the Kwanzaa Winter Youth Academy on Thursday at the King Arts Complex.

Organizers said the day camp for children ages five to 13 runs from December 26-28 and January 2-4. The holiday of Kwanzaa lasts for seven days in total, and each day, children at the camp are learning one of the principles of the African-American holiday.

“It’s talking about positive life values, so it’s something that families can do, so the kids can take these principles back home to their families, to their communities,” said Lyn Logan-Grimes, the cultural arts and education director at the King Arts Complex.

Wednesday’s principle was unity, while Thursday’s was self-determination.

Children at the academy are learning more about the principles through art. Resident artist April Sunami described art as a “gateway” through which ideas and principles can be made accessible even to young children.

“We’re doing a mat, we’re also doing a candleholder which we call a kinara. We are also going to make crops from papier mache,” Sunami said.

Organizers said the academy and celebration of Kwanzaa are ways of passing on culture and tradition, while teaching children principles they can use in their own lives.

“We also have some African dancing going on, some drumming, and then [Friday] we’re going to have a Kwanzaa feast, so that’s going to be a lot of fun,” Logan-Grimes said.

Logan-Grimes said the children would also get a chance to see a contemporary art exhibit at the King Arts Complex, which contains work by African artists who live in Columbus. The exhibit, curated by Talle Bamazi, will run through March.

“This is something that is uniquely African-American and it’s something that needs to be preserved and passed on and really cherished and celebrated,” Sunami said.

In addition to the Kwanzaa Winter Youth Academy, the King Arts Complex also does other day camps for children during the times of year when school is not in session.

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