The Salvation Army of Carlisle Launches Creative Arts & Volunteer Program for Local Youth

Sarah Swahlon, Upper Room program participant in a local stage production

The Salvation Army of Carlisle has kicked-off a new program to engage local youth through the arts and volunteerism. It is called The Upper Room, a nod to where the young people gather to socialize at The Salvation Army on East Pomfret Street.  The Upper Room provides free creative arts training, such as drama and dance, for individuals ages 15 to 22. Drama classes are led by Brad Cain, The Salvation Army of Eastern PA & DE’s Creative Arts Director, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Acting.

“This is a place where you can come to dig deeper into your talents and meet other people who want to grow,” said Cain.

Every Thursday night from 6pm to 8 pm at The Salvation Army of Carlisle, Cain meets with young people such as 16-year old Sarah Swahlon, to work on monologues, improvisation, and other acting exercises. Sarah and her fellow students showcased their new skills at a performance during the Christmas season.

Processed with VSCO with b1 preset“This is a place to go to express yourself and have fun. You’re not getting graded. It’s a chance to learn new things,” Swahlon said. “We have been dissecting songs in musicals and I am learning how to focus on emotions,” she added.

Swahlon says The Salvation Army of Carlisle’s Upper Room program is especially important, because it offers her valuable training for roles in upcoming school plays and musicals. She has been performing on stage for several years with roles in local shows such as The Music Man, The Addams Family, and Fiddler on the Roof. She intends to pursue vocal performance or music education in college.

“We’ve learned young people in Carlisle are seeking ways to connect with each other and The Upper Room provides that opportunity,” said Major Alma Riley, Co-Commanding Officer, The Salvation Army of Carlisle. “In addition to drama and dance, youth can volunteer by serving meals at our feeding program or work with the seniors or kids programs. They can also devise their own service projects,” she added.

The Salvation Army of Carlisle serves nearly 3,000 individuals and families each year through a multitude of programs and services. These include: My Brother’s Table feeding program, emergency food pantry, clothing and household goods assistance, Christmas assistance, The Senior Action Center, youth programs, worship services, permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless disabled individuals, as well as Genesis House, a short and long-term transitional housing for single men, and Pathway of Hope, a new intensive case-management initiative to help motivated families achieve self-sufficiency.

“Whether it’s exploring their creative arts talents or volunteering their time to support our services, we hope young people see that The Salvation Army of Carlisle is a beacon of hope and love in the community,” Riley said.

About The Salvation Army:

The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware is a faith-based, comprehensive human service organization whose programs help individuals, families and whole communities lead healthier, safer and more productive lives. Since 1879, The Army has held a record of accomplishment stemming from its holistic approach to providing for the needs of the whole individual – physically, emotionally, economically and spiritually. The Army’s programming serves every zip code through 51 community centers and a network of volunteers throughout Eastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Delaware. Programs and services include: shelter, hot meals, counseling, early childhood development, recreational opportunities, music programs, after-school arts and educational programs, job training, activities for older adults, spiritual development, and drug rehabilitation.

Mission Statement: The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

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