Bre’Anna Washington credits the Mint’s program with leading her to serve others
By Rebecca Morgan, Mint Museum Intern
Not far from Mint Museum Randolph’s historic home is a neighborhood whose challenges led the Mint in 2003 to create the Grier Heights Community Arts Program to offer after-school alternatives to students who may be living in challenged environments.
This year, the program celebrated a success story with a graduate whose experience led her to feel called to serve and educate young people.
Bre’Anna Washington, 19, is following her calling by joining the AmeriCorps VISTA Program, where she will be tutoring, counseling, and mentoring students. AmeriCorps is a national service program that places young people at roles in nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community- and faith-based programs around the country.
“True greatness is measured by service’ is something I’m proud to say I learned from The Mint Museum’s Grier Heights Program”
said Washington, who participated throughout her youth while growing up near the Grier Heights community.
When asked what inspired her to join AmeriCorps, Washington says: “It wasn’t by inspiration at first. I was looking for scholarships for my school, and AmeriCorps just popped up, I clicked the link and watched what these people do. In AmeriCorps, their principle is to bridge the gap between student and potential.” With a laugh, she added: “And I think that’s wonderful.”
The idea of bridging gaps is core to Rubie Britt-Height, who leads the Grier Heights Community Arts Program as the Mint’s Director of Community Relations.
“This program uses the Mint’s collection and exhibitions as a springboard to creativity”
to allow dialogue and activities that encourage self and mutual respect, making wise choices, being confident and an engaged servant leader, and having a high standard of excellence in all things,” she said. “Bre’Anna Washington is one of the program’s shining stars.”
“I’m excited to meet new people and spread light to new people,” said Washington, who’s currently a sophomore Dean’s List student at Fayetteville State University. Following her AmeriCorps VISTA Fellowship, she hopes to become a middle school history teacher and eventually a professor.
Washington says the Grier Heights Program taught her how to live a healthy life, think critically, and make smart choices. However, the most important thing the program taught her, she said, is “to be who you are. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or who your parents are, it’s about growing and learning within yourself, and taking pride in yourself, taking pride in your health, and taking pride in your intellect.”
Washington says she is grateful for the program and those who run it. “I don’t think I would be here without the Grier Heights Program and without my mentors in the program.”
Added Britt-Height: “She always showed great promise in our program: writing thoughtful poetry, creating mixed media art, serving as team leader, and setting an example for the other students. She’s going to be a very relevant change agent and community leader.”
Says Washington: “The program taught me how to make my life what I want it to be, which is filled with art, knowledge, growth, and sharing that with others.”
Want to know more?
Learn more about the Grier Heights Community Arts Program or the Mint’s numerous community outreach programs and initiatives, by visiting mintmuseum.org/community .
This article appeared in the Fall + Winter 2015 issue of The Mint Museum’s member magazine, Inspire. Want a copy? Visit either museum location or call 704.337.2009.