April Singleton, a sophomore at the University of Delaware, is an exceptional leader committed to providing a means for youth in underserved communities to develop stronger foundations for success by expanding their social and emotional learning. Her immersion in an ongoing dance/theatre project at the University of Delaware has informed her use of the arts in social and emotional learning. As a member of the Women of Consequence production that brought to life women of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, April researched and embodied the life of Harriet Wilson, presenting her life and struggles in writing and in movement. In addition to performing over 30 times as Wilson, April served as one of eight Teaching Artists, presenting a follow-up workshop entitled Dancing a Legacy at 10 Delaware schools and a summer enrichment program. April is creatively triangulating her concentration in Social Entrepreneurship, her leadership in the Delaware Innovation Fellows program, and her deep involvement in Women of Consequence to prepare for and pursue a career based on community activism and social change.
During my freshman year, I became involved in arts-integrated projects where we immersed ourselves in African-American history, produced dance pieces that shared those stories, and empowered audiences in underserved communities. An important aspect of our work is the series of movement workshops we lead in middle schools that are used to not only change the pace of their learning to expose them to new ideas but also to emphasize the emotional significance of our history and how it relates to the way society functions today, especially for minorities who have experienced oppression. While working with the students, I realized that another benefit of our engagement was the development of our students' social competencies that encompasses their self-awareness, social skills, and decision-making. In the summer before my sophomore year, I observed this form of learning that integrated the arts having a beneficial impact on the students. Taking what I gained from interacting with the students and combining it with what I learned under the Community Engagement Initiative and my studies in social entrepreneurship, I have started a venture to help teachers incorporate social and emotional learning in their everyday curriculum.