News


August 18, 2017

        Margaret Bernstein’s Mother, Bunty Kelley Bernstein, dies at age 92

Bunty dancing

Bunty dancing in Sleeping Beauty with the Royal Ballet in London during the 1930’s

Azalea Blossom’s Founder, Margaret Bernstein’s Mother, former dancer, Bunty Kelley Bernstein, passed away peacefully in her home in Delmar, New York on Thursday, August 17th, 2017 at the age of ninety two after a battle with cancer. At the request of Bunty, no funeral or memorial service will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to the SAFE through the arts bullying prevention program at Azalea Blossom, Incorporated, POB 21777, Brooklyn, NY, 11202 or at http://www.azaleablossom.com/support/donate

Bunty Kelley Bernstein (Nee’ Helen Margaret Douglas Kelley) was born on April 11, 1925 in London, England to Scottish parents- Nell Dunlop Kelley and John Douglas Kelley, an editor for Shell-Mex BP oil magazine. Bunty’s spent her childhood living in Chelsea, London and spending her holidays with her parents, her Great Aunt, Katerina Forbes Dunlop (the headmistress of the England’s oldest boarding
school) and her brother Peter in the sea-side town of Winchelsea in East Sussex. She began formal ballet lessons at age eight and went on to study with Margaret Craske and her assistant Mabel Ryan a few years later. Bunty began her professional career at an early age beginning with small character roles in movies and left school to pursue a full time position as a pantomime dancer at the age of twelve.

Bunty performed in La Concurrence, a ballet choreographed by George Balanchine, in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo before embarking upon a full time career with the Royal Ballet Company (then Sadlers Wells) in 1939. During the interim while the Sadlers Wells theater was closed during the Second World War, Bunty performed with the Rambert Ballet Company for noontime concerts. She continued to dance with Sadlers Wells when it reconvened in 1941 in order to perform for British troops in France and Belgium. Soon afterwards, Bunty performed in several musical shows including Lisbon Story, Jenny Jones and Gay Rosalinda in London before accepting a position with choreographer Agnes De Mille in the film ‘London Town”. In 1946, Bunty left London to join Ms. De Mille in America to perform in the production of Oklahoma on Broadway.

During her tenure with Agnes De Mille, Bunty performed various roles in numerous films and Broadway musicals. Some of the highlights included the following films: Oklahoma, , Carousel, Pajama Game, The Best Things in Life are Free, Anything Goes and Silk Stockings and the following musical shows: Oklahoma, Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, Goldilocks and Brigadoon (Broadway) and Brigadoon (London). In addition, she performed in California and in Myrtle Beach for the Indian Master Meher Baba of whom she was a devotee.

Bunty began her ballet teaching career while she was still performing beginning with private classes in Los Angeles and in New York City. She began teaching ballet classes at the Bronx House Music School and went on to teach at the Metropolitan Opera House where she taught until the early 1960’s. She began teaching in the Dance Department at Adelphi Univeristy under the Chairmanship of Harry Bernstein on Long Island in 1959 where she taught and eventually received status as Associate Professor until the early 1970’s. In 1960, she married Harry Bernstein and in 1962 they gave birth to a daughter, Margaret Jean, who eventually became a professional musician.

In the spring of 1974, she began teaching at BOCES Cultural Arts Center (now known as Long Island School of the Arts), where she stayed for twenty years. During her time there, she taught many promising dancers who went on to pursue professional careers in dance including Michael Trusnovec, soloist with the Paul Taylor Dance Company. Upon her retirement, Bunty volunteered with a number of organizations including the Garden City nursery school, Hempstead Public Schools and Azalea Blossom, Incorporated where she served on the Board of Directors for several years.

Bunty resided in Garden City on Long Island, New York from August, 1966 until October, 2012 where she moved to Delmar in Upstate, New York. In the last few years of her life, she was active in supporting the budding percussion career of her grandson, Julian Jacobs. She is survived by her daughter, Flutist/songwriter Margaret Jean Bernstein, her grandson, percussionist/drummer Julian Jacobs and nieces and nephews.

May 31, 2017

Azalea Blossom’s SAFE Through the Arts Program

SAFE through the Arts is a bullying prevention program, which utilizes the creative and performing arts in order to empower young children. It is currently geared towards PreK and kindergarten classrooms in urban public schools within New York City’s five boroughs and Upstate New York’s Capital Region. Our priority is to bring the program into schools serving economically challenged and culturally diverse populations. The program is based upon three key components: Self–Affirmation (Self-esteem), Financial literacy (Self-worth and value), and Education of non-violence (Getting along with others). These key components lay the foundation to build empowered human beings who have an understanding of their own unique strengths and talents. Through the integration of the three key components, students learn how they can positively contribute to their communities, accept and embrace differences within themselves and their peers, and communicate compassionately with one another. In addition, students gain exposure to a variety of creative and performing arts, which they can use for self-expression and creative problem-solving.

May 24, 2017

Meet Azalea Blossom’s New Intern!

We would like to welcome and congratulate our newest intern Bianca Cabrera! Bianca graduated from Rutgers University this May 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Over the past several years she has exercised her activist abilities and furthered her education in child psychology at Rutgers. She is an artist, and will be pursuing graduate school for a career in Art Therapy. She is joining the Azalea Blossom team this summer, as an intern and Director of Social Media. Bianca will be coordinating the Azalea Blossom Inc., SAFE Through the Arts, as well as The Bricks in the wall, social media accounts to reach out and inform the world about our work and programs through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. She is gaining priceless experience working with our dedicated interns and founder Margaret Bernstein. The work and goals of this organization fuels a passion in herself as well. She is exemplary skilled in writing and computer technology which will be applicable in the use of social media, constructing newsletters, as well as grant writing.This internship will provide her with exciting new opportunities and experiences that she will have access to.

May 10, 2017

Successful Completion of Spring Internships

Azalea Blossom’s interns from SUNY Albany and Hartwick College have successfully completed their spring internships. Natalia Lewitinn, the Assistant Director of Program and Development from Hartwick College, has been working on grant proposals during her internship with Azalea Blossom as well as managing several social media accounts. These skills will be helpful in her future endeavors as she aspires to work in nonprofit organizations. She is looking forward to starting her senior year as an accounting and business major at Hartwick College in the fall. Alyssa Budke, the Director of Marketing for Bricks in the Wall from SUNY Albany, built a fan base for the Bricks in the Wall project. She is looking forward to bringing the skills, which she acquired during her internship at Azalea Blossom to her internship with Victoria Secret’s Pink in the fall. Taj Marable, the Manager of Operations and Human Resources for Azalea Blossom from SUNY Albany, gained valuable first-hand experiences on how an organization is run and the day-to-day operations that are conducted. He is looking forward to pursuing future business in music and other industries in the near future. Azalea Blossom would like to thank these three lovely interns for all of their contributions to our organization and wish them all their best in their future endeavors. http://www.azaleablossom.com/about/team/

News from the SAFE through the Arts program

We are very excited our new student handbooks as well as the progress of our puppet characters, which are currently being manufactured by the Creative Arts Store in Alabama. We look forward to implementing the SAFE through the arts program into one hundred PreK and kindergarten classrooms in New York State public schools within the 2017-18 school year.

Bricks in the Wall Project Update

Bricks in the Wall’s Marketing Director Intern, Alyssa Budke, has made major accomplishments for the project, which was formed in 2007 by director and founder Margaret Bernstein. The Bricks in the Wall project using music and multi media to bring education and healing to victims of domestic violence as well as awareness to the general public. The Bricks in the Wall project can now be found on Twitter, Instagram, SoundCloud, Facebook, and YouTube. Alyssa’s latest project was working on the lyric and song book for the Bricks in the Wall album. Margaret and the Bricks band are currently booking gigs to perform in 2018.

Featured Donor of the Month- Bunty Bernstein

In honor of Mother’s Day this month, the featured donor of the month is Bunty Kelley Bernstein, Margaret’s mother. Bunty is a retired dancer and ballet instructor whose professional career includes years of dancing with the Sadlers Wells (the Royal Ballet) in London, England as well as assisting and performing in many of choreographer Agnes de Milles productions in the United States. Bunty also served on the Dance Faculty of Adelphi University in Garden City, New York and the Long Island High School for the Arts (BOCES Cultural Arts) in Syosset, New York. In addition to being one of Azalea Blossom’s most generous donors over the last several years, Bunty also served on the Board of Directors and as an interim secretary where she helped edit outgoing notices and newsletters in addition to researching prospective grants. We would like to thank Bunty for all of her support and many roles within our organization.

Quote of the Month

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” -Rumi

May 3, 2017

“I Can Be” is an empowering and upbeat children’s song from Songs from SAFE through the arts that embrace diversity. Songs from SAFE through the arts not only stands alone as an inspirational compilation of positive songs for children but is also a part of the SAFE through the arts bullying prevention program. Based upon three key components- Self-Affirmation, Financial Literacy and Education of non-violence, SAFE through the arts utilizes the creative and performing arts to empower young children.

“I Can Be”  fits into the second key component, Financial Literacy, which focuses on children thinking about empowering sustainable future for themselves. Pat Pig from Guyana, South America wishes to be a doctor, a lawyer or a cook. Bobby Bunny in a wheelchair from Buffalo, NY aspires to be a teacher. Tamika from Nigerian decent aspires to be a construction worker. Lucinda from Puerto Rico wants to be a park ranger. Scott whose family is from Jamaica hopes to be a police officer just like his dad. Melinda Mouse comes from Egypt and had her heart set on being a writer.
To listen to the song, please click here.
To buy the song, please click here.
To read more about “Songs from SAFE through the arts,” please click here.

April 26, 2017

Did you know that there’s a way to support Azalea Blossom and the SAFE through the arts program at no cost to yourself? Well, there is! GoodSearch, a search engine just like Google, donates money based on your searches through the site. It also donates based on purchases made through special promotions featured on the site. We encourage everyone to check it out!

April 19, 2017

Welcome to the April 2017 Newsletter!

Thanks for your support!

We have officially reached the end of our fundraising campaign on generosity.com for the manufacturing of the sixteen puppet characters who are an integral part of the SAFE through the Arts program. In addition, our board members, interns, and other volunteers have been busy selling chocolate bunny lollipops and movie discount cards. We would like to thank everyone who helped us with our recent fundraising efforts!

News from the SAFE through the Arts program

Thanks to the generous support, which we have received from our recent fundraisers, the Creative Arts Store has begun the manufacturing of our sixteen puppet characters. We are excited as we anticipate seeing the Word Bird and his friends being brought to life! In addition, former intern Amy Gong has been hard at work on designing the student and teacher handbooks for the SAFE through the arts program. The handbooks are in the final stages and are about to be sent to our partner, Staples, to be printed.

News from Azalea Blossom Interns

Natalia Lewitinn, the Assistant Director of Program and Development, has been hard at work researching grants and promoting the SAFE through the arts program on social media. Alyssa Budke has been hard at work on the Bricks in the Wall project. (Please see below). Taj Marable, the Manager of Operations & Human Resources, has implemented a new database, BatchBook, to be used in the office, represented Azalea Blossom on social media, and has conducted the recruitment of future interns. Read more about Natalia, Alyssa, and Taj at http://www.azaleablossom.com/about/team/

Bricks in the Wall Project Update

The “Bricks in the Wall” Project was formed in March of 2007 by our Director and Founder, Margaret Bernstein, with the aim of bringing awareness and education on the lesser known and publicized aspects of domestic violence to the general public. Alyssa, the Director of Marketing for Bricks in the Wall, has been building fan bases on several social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and SoundCloud. We are in the process reassembling the Bricks Band, which features Margaret Bernstein on vocals, flute, and piano and also includes Sue Taylor on guitar, Iris Ornig on bass, and Marla Bracco on violin. Visit our Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-148448497

Featured Donor of the Month- Bill Glover

Our featured donor of the month is Bill Glover, longtime donor of Azalea Blossom, Incorporated. He is currently the business manager at the Awakening Seed School in Phoenix, Arizona where Margaret worked as an after school teacher when she was a Master’s student at Arizona State University. Bill has a strong background in business and management and has operated his own business for over forty years. He enjoys helping out with projects that make learning fun and exciting for students and teachers. Bill also loves spending time with his four granddaughters and grandson, as well as his two daughters and wife Mary. We are most grateful for Bill’s belief in our mission and his long-term commitment to Azalea Blossom. For further information about Bill and the Awakening Seed School, please visit http://www.awakeningseedschool.org/

Support us through GoodSearch

Did you know that you could support Azalea Blossom and the SAFE through the arts program at no cost? GoodSearch, a search engine just like Google, donates money just from your searches through the site.

Quote of the Month

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Gandhi.

March 22, 2017

This week, for Writer Wednesday, we’re going to do a recap of the characters we’ve featured for our special #MeetTheCharacters campaign on the SAFE through the arts Twitter page! In honor of Black History Month and Valentine’s Day, we featured Tamika, who’s parents are from Nigeria. She herself is from South Carolina and loves making southern comfort food with her mom. She is very loving and wants to be a builder when she grows up! We have also featured Word Bird, who is a rapper seagull from the Jersey Shore known for using his kind and polite words.  In honor of International Women’s Day and Azaleation Day, we featured Lucinda who was born in Puerto Rico. She wants everyone to achieve greatness and aspires to be a Park Ranger. Continuing with that theme, we also featured Teacher Beaver, who lives on a farm in Upstate New York, but her family is from Scotland and England. She is important because she helps all children to believe in their unique selves. The most recent character to be featured this week was Frieda Fish! Head over to Twitter to learn more about her and the rest of our very special characters, and head to our Generosity campaign if you’d like to know more about how you can help bring these integral characters to life!

March 15, 2017

This week we were fortunate enough to receive a very generous grant from Stewart’s Shops! Their program, Holiday Match, started over thirty years ago to benefit programs for children under the age of eighteen in areas such as social services, health, education, recreations, and the arts. We have had a long partnership with Stewarts Shops and greatly appreciate their contributions, which have allowed us to implement programs throughout seven counties in the past and have most recently helped support the creation of the new student handbook for preK and kindergarten public school students. We are excited about the new contribution from Stewarts Shops, which we anticipate using towards SAFE through the arts programming in Schenectady City Schools this spring.

March 8, 2017

Happy Azaleation Day!

Falling on the same day as International Women’s Day, March 8th is Azaleation Day, the day on which at Azalea Blossom, Incorporated celebrate our unique selves. We invite you to also celebrate your beautiful uniqueness on this day and every day and fill your day with self-appreciation and love.

Generosity Campaign

Azalea Blossom has just launched a new campaign on Generosity to fundraise for the manufacturing of the sixteen puppet characters who are an integral part of the SAFE through the Arts program. These puppets teach lessons based upon the three key components while embracing diversity and we need your help to bring them to life! Donors of the SAFE through the Arts puppet project will receive a personalized thank you letter and other gifts such as t-shirts, song downloads, CDs, and an invitation to the donor party! Thank you for your part in bringing bullying prevention education into our schools. For more information about the campaign: https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/puppets-for-the-safe-through-the-arts-program

News from the SAFE through the Arts program

We are eagerly anticipating bringing the SAFE through the arts program back to PreK and kindergarten classrooms later this spring! Former Azalea Blossom intern Amy Gong has been hard at work on designing the student and teachers handbooks for the program.

Meet Azalea Blossom’s New Interns!

The first day for our new spring interns Natalia Lewitinn, Alyssa Budke, and Taj Marable was Friday, February 10th, 2017. We had a great experience all together in the office with Kristen and Margaret doing a few team-building activities. We discussed our roles as well as laid out some goals for the semester. These efforts will mainly be shown on social media so make sure to follow all of our Twitter and Instagram accounts. Please stay tuned and follow their journey! Read more about Natalia, Alyssa, and Taj and their accomplishments to Azalea Blossom, SAFE through the arts, and Bricks in the Wall http://www.azaleablossom.com/about/team/

Bricks in the Wall Project Update

Our Bricks in the Wall Project has been making great strides to send out our message through several social media platforms! We have now created a YouTube account for Azalea Blossom, where you can find our inspirational music video. We have also created a Facebook page for Azalea Blossom, where Bricks in the Wall posts regularly. On top of those two platforms, we also have two additional specific handles for the project. Find them on Instagram, @BricksintheWallProject, and Twitter @BricksintheWallProject. We are excited to celebrate International Women’s Day and Azaleation Day both on March 8th! We celebrate this day to recognize the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Women are strong, amazing individuals who do not deserve the disrespect of domestic abuse. Bricks in the Wall is looking forward to sending out their message of awareness on a very influential day.

“Songs from SAFE through the Arts” available on CD Baby

Art is a powerful vehicle for social change and music is an especially effective tool in engaging young children in the process of learning. Because of this fact, we have recorded nine original empowering songs, which, along with the puppets skits, are now an integral part of the program. The CD of songs, “Songs from SAFE through the arts” is not only being used as a tool of positive reinforcement by the classroom teacher after the conclusion of the seven-week program but is also being sold to the general public on CD Baby, Amazon, and iTunes. All proceeds from the sales of the album directly benefit the SAFE through the arts program. Thanks to Kristen Amrhein for her work overseeing the recording legalities. www.cdbaby.com/cd/azaleablossom

Featured Volunteer of the Month

In honor of International Women’s Day, the featured volunteer of the month is Azalea Blossoms founder, Margaret Jean Bernstein. Ms. Bernstein has spent literally hundreds of volunteer hours in the last few years working on getting arts based bullying prevention education into urban diversely-populated public schools. Initially, Ms. Bernstein established Azalea Blossom, Inc. as the non-profit 501c3 sister organization to her music publishing company, Growing Azalea Music in order to facilitate musical projects aimed at Social Awareness. Ms. Bernstein is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, composer, and flutist internationally known for her Socially Awakened Songs and Uplifting Instrumental compositions in addition to being a dually certified educator in New York State.

A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (BM, flute performance) and Arizona State University (MM, flute performance), Ms. Bernstein’s recording credits include four solo albums released on her Growing Azalea Music record label. She is also the songwriter for all of the songs on the “Songs from SAFE through the arts” CD. Two decades of experience as a classroom music teacher in rural and urban communities in California and New York State coupled with close encounters with domestic violence lead her to create the SAFE through the Arts bullying prevention program in 2007. A voting member of the Recording Academy, she is the founder of the Youth Sahavas, an annual retreat for teenagers held in South Carolina. To read her full bio, please visit www. http://www.azaleablossom.com/about/team/

To read the blog on her adventures, please visit http://www.margaretbernstein.com/blog

Follow us on all of our new Social Media accounts

We have been working very hard to bring everything Azalea Blossom to social media. This had lead to the creation of many new accounts in addition to our old ones. On Twitter, we can be found at @azalea_blossom7, @BricksInTheWall, and @SAFEThroughArts. On Instagram, we can be found at @safethroughthearts and @bricksinthewallproject. We also have a new YouTube channel that we are very proud of! On it, you can find the music video for Bricks in the Wall and the SAFE through the Arts promotional video.https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVeIf6ik4brTWhU7FZrp_9w

In addition to these accounts, we are also on SoundCloud! https://soundcloud.com/safethroughthearts

Lastly, we can be found on Facebook, under the names of SAFE through the Arts and Azalea Blossom! Please be sure to “like” and/or follow us on any of these medias if you have an account.

Quote of the Month

“All else may fail, love never fails.” -Meher Baba.

With best wishes and gratitude,
Margaret Jean Bernstein Founder and Program Director
Azalea Blossom, Incorporated/SAFE through the Arts

March 1, 2017

Bricks in the Wall

Our Bricks in the Wall Project has been making great strides to send out our message through several social media platforms! We have now created a YouTube account for Azalea Blossom, where you can find our inspirational music video. We have also created a Facebook page for Azalea Blossom, where Bricks in the Wall posts regularly. On top of those two platforms, we also have two additional specific handles for the project. Find them on Instagram, @BricksintheWallProject, and Twitter @BricksintheWallProject. We are excited to celebrate International Women’s Day and Azaleation Day both on March 8th! We celebrate this day to recognize the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Women are strong, amazing individuals who do not deserve the disrespect of domestic abuse. Bricks in the Wall is looking forward to sending out their message of awareness on a very influential day.

February 24, 2017

Generosity!

This week Azalea Blossom launched a new campaign on Generosity to fundraise for the manufacturing of the sixteen puppet characters who are an integral part of the SAFE through the Arts program. SAFE through the arts is a bullying prevention and empowerment program for Pre-K and kindergarten students in urban public schools throughout New York City and the Capital District. Based on three key components–Self-Affirmation, Financial Literacy, and Education of Nonviolence– the program prevents bullying by strengthening each student’s self-esteem, helping them to recognize their self-worth, and teaching children to be kind and respectful to one another through the use of the arts and puppets. These puppets teach lessons based upon the key components while embracing diversity and we need your help to bring them to life! To learn more about the characters, go here. Donors of the SAFE through the arts puppet project will receive a personalized thank you letter & other various gifts. Thank you for your part in bringing bullying prevention education into our schools. To learn more about the campaign and Generosity, click here.

February 15, 2017

New Interns!

The first day for our new spring interns Natalia Lewitinn, Alyssa Budke, Taj Marable, and Frances was Friday, February 10th, 2017. We had a great experience all together in the office with Kristen and Margaret, all we were missing was Amy, though we did get to FaceTime her! We did a few team-building activities and discussed our roles as well as laid out some goals for the semester. We all want to continue to raise awareness, education, and prevention of domestic violence and child abuse through music, multi-media, and the arts. This means that we will be working very hard this semester to bring the “SAFE Through The Arts” program back into schools as well as working on getting our own puppets. We are also working on a new “Bricks in the Wall” project. These efforts will mainly be shown on social media so make sure to follow all of our Twitter and Instagram accounts. We are very excited and grateful to have the opportunity to work for Azalea Blossom this semester, please stay tuned and follow our journey!

December 2016

Welcome to the 2016 Azalea Blossom Newsletter!

We are excited to share all the news of the wonderful things that have been happening with Azalea Blossom and the SAFE through the arts program. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

The SAFE through the Arts Program Moving Forward

Azalea Blossom has had a successful year as we move forward with bringing the SAFE through the Arts program to a new demographic. Program Director Margaret Bernstein has been working hard at reconstructing the SAFE through the Arts program for the Pre-K and kindergarten population. We are excited to expand our geographic reach this year by bringing our arts-based bullying prevention program to New York City schools where there is a great need in addition to urban public schools in Upstate New York. The new Pre-K program has already made an impact with the children in Schenectady, New York.

The new curriculum for SAFE through the Arts is still based upon three components: Self-Affirmation (Self-esteem), Financial literacy (self-worth and value), and Education of non-violence (getting along with others). Children participate in dramatic role play, movement, drumming, singing and drawing. In addition, puppet skits featuring sixteen unique puppet characters have been incorporated into the newly revamped curriculum. Students who have participated in SAFE through the Arts are more aware of how to appropriately express their emotions towards others. They are also more likely to integrate the values of self-love, cooperation, accepting others who are different and treating one another with respect and compassion. These are all important skills, which children when taught at a young age, will carry with them into adulthood.

Meet the Characters

Thanks to Margaret Bernstein’s vision and the artistic direction of Amy Gong, we now have images of the sixteen distinct puppet characters. The characters represent the diverse demographics of the public schools of New York City and the Capital District. The SAFE through the Arts characters includes the “Word Bird”, a rapper seagull from the Jersey shore who teaches children how to use their kind and polite words. Teacher Beaver is the benevolent teacher who demonstrates compassion and equality. Charlie Chipmunk and Friendly Frog together teach children how to use their “Happy Hands and Friendly Feet” in appropriate ways. Sally Spider and Pat Pig model how we can be friends and get along in spite of our differences. Booby Bunny, who is confined to a wheel chair, is a role model for differently-abled children. Bully Bear makes a transition to “Backpack Bear” upon learning how to believe in himself and treat others with kindness and respect.

“Songs from SAFE through the Arts” available on iTunes

Art is a powerful vehicle for social change and music is an especially effective tool in engaging young children in the process of learning. Because of this fact, we have recorded nine original empowering songs, which, along with the puppets skits, are now an integral part of the program. The CD of songs, “Songs from SAFE through the arts” is not only being used as a tool of positive reinforcement by the classroom teacher after the conclusion of the seven-week program but is also being sold to the general public on CD Baby, Amazon, and iTunes. All proceeds from the sales of the album directly benefit the SAFE through the arts program. Thanks to Kristen Amrehein for her work overseeing the recording legalities. www.cdbaby.com/cd/azaleablossom

Azalea Blossom’s New Board of Directors

Vivian Roston has assumed the role of President of the Board of Directors while previous board member Ariana Williams has taken on the role of vice-president. Chelsea Cross, a long-time volunteer who most recently utilized her grant writing skills as a part of Oberlin College’s senior grant-writing class, is a new addition to the Board along with another former intern, Natalie Adorno, who has accepted the position of Treasurer. Learn more about the members of the Board at www.AzaleaBlossom.com/about/board.

Our Blossoming Internship Program

Azalea Blossom’s internship program thrived this past year as interns from four accredited Colleges and Universities – Hartwick College, SUNY Albany, Rutgers University and Hunter College graced our office. Our interns assumed roles in Art Direction, Music Supervision, Business Administration and Social Media Marketing Management. Read about Kristen, Emilee, Amy and Faith and their accomplishments to Azalea Blossom and the SAFE through the arts program. www.AzaleaBlossom.com/about/team

Azalea Blossom’s Change of Legal Status

Another exciting event in the last year has been the change of legal status from a private foundation to a public charity. The new change of legal status will grant us additional funding opportunities.

New Website and Logo

Thanks to the graphic art and web design work of Michele Friedman and Susan Becker, we now have a new look to the Azalea Blossom website and logo! In addition, we have a new logo for SAFE through the arts. We anticipate our new SAFE through the arts website being fully operative by early 2017.

Follow us on Social Media

Thanks to Faith Ahmed, who not only sang the roles of Melinda Mouse and Tamika on Songs from SAFE through the arts but also volunteered as our media marketing intern this summer, SAFE through the arts has its own Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts! If you use these social media platforms, please be sure to follow and “like” us. You will be happily surprised with the “Meet the Characters” series, which Emilee Namer, our current Program and Development Assistant, has created.

Thanks for your Generous Support

Due to the extreme upheaval and chaos in our world and country at present, there has never been a greater need for bullying prevention education and the arts in our schools. Students from all backgrounds and cultures need to build their self-confidence as well as to learn tools to help them cope and thrive in an increasingly controversial society. However, we cannot do this without your support! Your tax exempt donation will help us to reach our financial goal of raising $77,000 by December 31st, which will put SAFE through the arts into thirty-five public classrooms this spring. Contributions can be made through our secure site at www.azaleablossom.com/support/donate or mailed to AZALEA BLOSSOM, INC., POB 21777, BROOKLYN, NY, 11202.
We greatly appreciate your generosity.

With best wishes and gratitude,
Margaret Jean Bernstein Founder and Program Director
Azalea Blossom, Incorporated/SAFE through the Arts

 

 

Nov. 11, 2016

Happy Friday, everyone. In light of recent events, the people of Azalea Blossom, Inc. want to shed happiness on the current situation. There has been a lot of hate speeches going around, dragging a lot of communities down. But we mustn’t let this keep happening. Every single person needs to stand strong and spread positive thoughts over demeaning words. We are all worthy of love despite what people may have been saying. We must keep in mind that there are people who want to help other out and not tear them down. Seek them out. Keep them close. Make sure you are there for others just as much as you want someone to be there for you. You are worthy. You are loved. Remember that.

 

Oct. 29 2016

As many may know, October is #BullyingPreventionMonth! This is a very important time for us here at Azalea Blossom Incorporated because as you all may know, we are striving to prevent bullying through the use of creative and performing arts. Our songs have been created to empower young children. Our program is built upon three key components: Self-Affirmation (building self-esteem), Financial literacy (creating self-worth), and Education of non-violence (learning how to be kind and get along with others). These songs have been created by founder and director Margaret Bernstein. However, even as this month comes to a close, we still want to push forward to make every month Bullying Prevention Month. A piece of exciting news is that our CD Songs from SAFE Through the Arts is currently being considered for a nomination in the children’s music category for the 59th grammy awards.

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Sept. 8, 2016

Azalea Blossom is just wrapping up a very successful season of summer internship programs! Our three interns- Amy Gong from Rutgers University, Faith Ahmed from Hunter College and Kristen Amrheim from Hartwick College have been industrious in moving the SAFE through the arts program forward. We are happy to announce that our sixteen characters from the SAFE through the arts featured puppet shows have new images, thanks to the creative genius of Amy, who has been interning as the Art Director for Azalea Blossom and will continue on as an independent contractor while she continues to work on the SAFE through the arts student handbook. Meanwhile, Faith, our manager of media and marketing, has been hard at work on rebuilding all of our social media sites including tour witter, Instagram and Facebook accounts. Kristen, the Director of music licensing and publishing from our sister organization, Growing Azalea Music, has been meticulously making sure that metadata, copy right, and other legalities are all in order where the music of the SAFE through the arts program is concerned.

Our other big news is that Songs from SAFE through the arts, a compilation of nine original songs, which Azalea Blossom’s Founder and Program Director, Margaret Jean Bernstein, wrote for the program, is currently being pressed at Disc Makers and has been submitted for a Grammy nomination consideration!  The songs, which feature the vocals of Pyeng Threadgill, Will Stone, Faith Ahmed and Nikolai Moderbacher, were produced and recorded by Barb Morrision and Jonathan Jetter at Right Angle Studios in New York City. The songs, all based upon the three key components of the SAFE through the arts program- Self-Affirmation, Financial literacy, and Education of non-violence, are aligned with the program’s mission to empower and prevent bullying beginning with Prekindergarten and kindergarten students.

The recording, which will be available both as a CD as well as a digital recording, will have its public release on September 20th. All proceeds from Songs from SAFE through the arts will benefit the SAFE through the arts program.

Feb 10, 2015

Imagine a world with no violence. I am not talking about a world without guns but rather a world in which children can go to school every day without the threat of being bullied; A world in which women can live peacefully without being verbally, emotionally or physically battered; and a world in which men are permitted to express their feelings honestly and openly in ways, which build themselves and others. This is the world, which I envision.

For over ten years, I have been imagining a world in which youth of all ages feel empowered knowing that they each have unique gifts and talents that they are able to share with the world. I have been imagining a world in which all emerging adults have the skills and knowledge to take care of themselves financially and emotionally. I imagine a world in which people are able to communicate to one another to express their needs and feelings kindly and compassionately in a way that does not put blame or threat upon others.

In 2007, I founded Azalea Blossom as a not for profit 501c3 organization for the purpose of raising awareness, educating and preventing domestic violence and child abuse through the use of the creative and performing Arts. The “Bricks int he Wall” project, which brought awareness and education of domestic violence in its many forms came to fruition in March of that year when we celebrated the release of my “Bricks in the Wall” music video and CD with a series of concerts throughout New York State with my band. Women from nearby shelters and the general public attended the concerts while youth from community service groups made resource information available to all concert attendees.

After two years of working on and tweaking the curriculum, I launched my first SAFE through the Arts programs in public middle schools throughout Upstate New York during the spring of 2009. After a weeklong residency of teaching the Arts-based curriculum based upon the three components of the program (Self-Affirmation, Financial literacy and Education of non-violence), the students at each school created their own projects based on the components of the program using one of the Art forms (dance, theater, music, visual arts, film etc). In addition, my band joined me for a final assembly concert at the end of each SAFE through the Arts program in which chorus students joined the band for our final song, “Believe”, a song, which I wrote to remind youth to always believe in themselves and their abilities.

Although Azalea Blossom has basically been on hiatus during the last year and a half, we are ready to rock and roll forward with new ideas and new plans, which includes the re-launching of the SAFE through the Arts program into kindergarten classes. The changes, which we have witnessed in the last two years, has helped us to realize the growing urgent need for all youth to receive empowerment and violence prevention education at an early age. Our Arts based approach is the perfect vehicle for students of all ages to assimilate the skills and tools required for empowering themselves. In addition, our newly revised Bricks in the Wall Shelter Project will bring education, healing, and music into women’s shelters throughout the NorthEast. 

In order to do all of this, we need your help. We need volunteers including dedicated Board Members who can devote time, energy and professional expertise to our mission. In addition, fiscal contributions of any size are welcome and will be used towards the materials and personnel needed to run our programs. We keep an incredibly low overhead (our only expense right now is our PO box!) so that we can put almost 100% of the money we receive into our programming. There is no better time than Domestic Violence Awareness month to make a contribution- whether it be a gift of time, talent or treasure to Azalea Blossom or not for profit organization helping to make the world a better, more peaceful place through the education, awareness of prevention of violence. And if you or someone you know is undergoing an abusive relationship-whether or not there is any physical violence- please be sure to reach out and contact one of the hotline numbers mentioned on the Azalea Blossom website for help and support.

We hope that you are enjoying a happy, healthy and vibrant New Year! Thank you for doing your part, even in a small way, to help to make the world a peaceful, safer and more equitable place for others.

With love, gratitude and best wishes always,

Margaret xo