Katara Simmons/News-Sun Praz Kidz Founder Pamela Kay-Salvo standing near a mural painted by Artist James R. Hahn on Tuesday morning at the Circle Theatre in Sebring. Hahn and Kay-Salvo will be working together to help promote children's involvement with the arts.
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published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Creating opportunity for young artists and actors
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
SEBRING -- Pamela Kay-Salvo is the News-Sun's Unsung Hero for September.
She created Praz Kids Inc., a non-profit organization providing scholarships to individual children so they can take advantage of the county's many art programs for young people.
The name comes from the way some young children spell the word praise, Kay-Salvo said.
"It means we praise God at all times. We give scholarships to pay for a child's participation (in a program) for a full year. It's paying it forward for kids. We find children's needs and give them an outlet in the arts. The goal is to set up kids for success, to keep them from falling between the cracks."
Despite the rain on Tuesday, Kay-Salvo was at the Champion for Children Circle Theater discussing future plans with Trish Davis, director of the theater's school of the arts and founder of Simple Arts.
Kay-Salvo says she has been awed and grateful for the response she's received from local artists, teachers and groups like the Highlands Art League, Highlands Little Theatre and the Circle Theater. "There have been no lack of volunteers," she said.
Davis has the same admiration for Kay-Salvo. "Pamela is amazing," she said. "She never gives up on the kids. You can always count on her. She just doesn't give up."
Jan Merop, who read to children while the Praz Kids coffee shop was open, says much the same thing. "I saw her love for kids and the arts," she said, "and her efforts to bring them together. Deep in heart she wants to be a blessing for children."
Kay-Salvo needs that enthusiasm and perseverance. She began her work in 2008, and learned a lot along the way.
Starting with a coffee shop in Lake Placid, Kay-Salvo's first idea was to raise money for scholarships through the shop's sales. The effort, however, was not productive so she did away with the shop, redesigned her plan, and is expanding her board of directors whose function will be to raise money.
In January 2014, she expects to have a website up and running and will work with the school district to identify more students. So far ,12 scholarships have been awarded. The goal is to significantly increase that number.
Praz Kids also offers tutoring, especially for students with learning disabilities.
Joe Salvo, Kay-Salvo's husband, is a retired teacher with 30 years of experience. As a mark of his support he is volunteering to tutor, too.
This program may seem small at the moment, but it has the potential to reach many children. More to the point, Kay-Salvo embodies the kind of person who deserves recognition as a quiet individual who saw a need and is working on a solution.
For more information about volunteering, donating or looking for help for a child call her at 991-2134.
If there is no answer leave a name and contact number.
(by: Blindman~ - 9/25/2013)
Great article Christopher. Kudos to Pamela & the kids.
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