Springboard to Learning said hello to 2023 with a group of generous National Honor Society volunteers from Mehlville High School. They helped us usher our Arts & Learning Packs program into the new year, assembling 660 Art Machines for St. Louis children.

You might have spotted a familiar name during your grocery runs in January – all register donations at Dierbergs Markets for the month benefitted Springboard!

And after six years with Springboard, the staff said Bon Voyage to Program Facilitator Jonathan Webb, who went to fulfill his dream job with Major League Baseball.


In February, Springboard hosted the St. Louis Regional Competition of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest. St. Louis City winner Nick Merlo, from Crossroads College Prep, went on to win the Missouri State Competition and compete in the National Competition.

David Dik, Executive Director of our national affiliate Young Audiences Arts for Learning, paid a visit to St. Louis, where he got to witness Springboard programming firsthand and discuss the state of the arts in education with staff, board members, and teaching artists.

And another wonderful group of volunteers joined us from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, assembling Play + Pinch Arts & Learning Packs for students.


The Helen S. Shopmaker Memorial Topgolf Tournament returned in March for another afternoon of food, fun, and friendly competition. Golfers from sponsor Carrollton Bank took home the first place trophy.

Former teaching artist and Hazelwood educator Dr. Betty Scheller joined the Springboard staff as Program Facilitator.

And a cohort of newly trained Baby Artsplay! teaching artists delivered their first programs for infants, toddlers, and caregivers. They hosted a Baby Artsplay! residency at the First Presbyterian Church of St. Louis’ Parents’ Day Out program, a professional development session at the YWCA Head Start Center, and a series of Family Workshops at the St. Charles City Early Childhood Center.


The Springboard staff welcomed another new member to the ranks – Office Administrator Richelle Page.

For the first time since 2019, the WiseWrite Festival of One-Act Plays returned to the stage! Fifth graders from Mallinckrodt Academy and Mason Elementary watched professional actors and students from Grand Center Arts Academy perform their published plays live on stage at the Sun Theater.

And two other Springboard Signature Programs culminated in April. Fourth graders from Kehrs Mill Elementary recorded the songs they wrote in their MusicMaker residencies, while students from Mullanphy-Botanical Garden and Woerner Elementary displayed their IdeaBuilder prototypes at the Magic House – MADE for Kids.


Springboard welcomed its third Gyo Obata fellow, Cameron Harley, in May for a summer internship. This 10-week paid fellowship, sponsored by the Regional Arts Commission, addresses the need for a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable local nonprofit arts and culture sector.

And students from Armstrong Elementary celebrated the culmination of their Art of Baseball residency by displaying their infographics at Busch Stadium before a St. Louis Cardinals game. A few students even appeared on the jumbotron!


June was all about summer learning! Springboard served as the sole provider of summer enrichment at Camp SLPS, the summer learning program in the St. Louis Public School District. Teaching artists delivered 158 programs to 1,370 SLPS students in the month of June.

Meanwhile, summer learning students in the Hazelwood School District also received Wolf Trap residencies and Signature Programming.


At the beginning of the new fiscal year, Springboard welcomed six new directors to the organization for board service: Jennifer Fishering, Mischelle Fortson, Kyle Hendrix, Donna Hynes, Michelle Lewis, and KC O’Brien.

And Teaching Artist Kunama Mtendaji displayed his singing, drumming, and storytelling skills at the St. Charles City-County Library, traveling between the district’s branches to perform Words from the Drum for young patrons.


In August, Springboard staff, board members, and teaching artists returned to Busch Stadium to be honored on the field as part of the St. Louis Cardinals and Bally Sports Midwest’s Pitching In Program, appearing on TVs across the country!

Two Springboard staff members traveled to the East Coast for professional development opportunities. Program Facilitation Director Brenda Butler attended the annual Wolf Trap Early Learning for the Arts conference in Vienna, VA, while Marketing & Communications Director Lauren Wiser attended the Kennedy Center’s ED@LEAD Conference in Boston, MA.

And as students returned for a new school year, Springboard kicked off long-term projects with two St. Louis area schools. At Southeast Middle School in the Hazelwood School District, Springboard began serving as an enrichment provider for Mindset Mondays, and will deliver 60 residencies over the course of 31 weeks. Meanwhile, Springboard will also provide year-long programming to St. Louis Catholic Academy.


Springboard initiated another long-term program in September, as teaching artists delivered the first sessions of the RAISE program. Sponsored by Young Audiences Arts for Learning and the US Department of Education, RAISE brings teaching artists, school social workers, and classroom teachers into partnership to develop healing-centered and culturally responsive arts-in-education residency programs. Students and educators participating in RAISE will receive Springboard programming for the next three years.


Lip Sync Battle – St. Louis returned! Held at Chaminade College Preparatory School, the Battle featured Kyle Hendrix, Steve Knoebber, and Jennifer Fishering raising money for Springboard and competing for the title of Lip Sync champion. With her performance of Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman,” Jennifer Fishering stole the show and the Golden Microphone trophy!

And as part of their annual Founder’s Day, Mackey Mitchell Architects dedicated their day of service to assembling Arts & Learning Packs for Springboard.


In November, Springboard partnered with BoardBridge, a board-matching program from FOCUS St. Louis, as part of an ongoing effort to diversify the Board of Directors.

And we hosted an amazing group of volunteers from Easterseals Midwest who assembled 171 Arts & Learning Packs as part of their pre-employment services program. Altogether, 155 volunteers assembled over 6,000 Arts & Learning Packs in 2023.


By December, our message to all our donors, board members, school partners, teaching artists, volunteers, and friends was clear: YOU DESERVE IT ALL!

So the Springboard staff donned their best holiday flannel and lip synced their thanks for helping serve the kids of St. Louis.

Thank you for a fantastic 2023! We can’t wait to show you what we have in store for 2024.